The Queen City is quickly becoming a king of craft beer in the U.S.
As one of the fastest growing cities in the U.S., Charlotte is on the rise—and so is its craft beer scene. Here are just a few reasons why Charlotte should be on your radar as one of the nation’s next major beer cities.
1. The stats support it.
From a fast-growing brewery scene to increased craft beer sales and visitation to area breweries, Charlotte’s got a lot when it comes to craft beer—and we’ve got the numbers to prove it.
2. The Charlotte area has seen explosive brewery growth (with no signs of stopping).
Since 2009, the Charlotte craft beer scene has seen exponential growth with dozens breweries opening one by one in hip and artsy neighborhoods like NoDa and South End. And areas like LoSo (Lower South End) are making a name for themselves as the next big drinking district in the city. Beyond city limits, towns like Cornelius, Mooresville and Concord have caught the craft beer buzz with pockets of breweries opening just a short drive from Uptown Charlotte.
These enclaves are continuing to develop a strong craft beer presence with craft breweries, bottle shops and beer bars sprinkled throughout while also welcoming new craft distilleries and cideries to the scene. And with the opening of the LYNX Blue Line light rail extension in 2018, access to many of these hoppy hot spots via public transportation will become easier than ever.
3. The city’s brews and craft beer culture are garnering national attention.
With dozens of breweries opening over the course of eight years, Charlotte has made a name for itself on the nation’s and world’s craft beer map. And brewmasters inspired by local ingredients, unique methods and shapeshifting philosophies have poured their hearts into their handcrafted creations—and they’re getting noticed, too.
4. Charlotteans love their local beer, creating a high supply and demand for it everywhere in the city.
Locals and visitors have fallen in love with the community vibe and the unique setting of each brewery in Charlotte, but more importantly, they‘ve developed a strong preference for the homegrown beer churned out by each. The high demand for local suds has resulted in hundreds of restaurants and bars adding them to their tap lines and the majority of attractions across the region featuring them; there are few places in Charlotte you can go and not find a local brew to enjoy. And brewery or beer bar hopping (most with gorgeous patios) has become a weekend ritual for Charlotte-area residents and a magnetic draw for visitors with cravings for local brews.
According to December 2016 data from the Untappd app, the top-five breweries based on ratings on a scale of 1 to 5 in Charlotte city limits are Wooden Robot Brewery (3.88 rating), Salud (3.85 rating), Heist Brewery (3.75 rating), NoDa Brewing Company (3.74 rating) and Sycamore Brewing (3.74 rating). And one of the most popular local beers is Hop, Drop n’ Roll IPA, which has garnered 43,183 check-ins on Untappd.
5. The Charlotte area has beer tours and festivals galore.
As craft beer has continued to dominate more and more of Charlotte’s cultural scene, the city has become a proud host for beer tours and festivals year-round, offering up the perfect way to experience a variety of the region’s local beers. Beer lovers can hop on a tour with Charlotte Brews Cruise and Charlotte NC Tours or create their own beer crawl on Trolley Pub Charlotte. Or they can choose from more than 20 beer festivals held in the area each year, including the Moo and Brew Craft Beer and Burger Festival, Tuck Fest, and the North Carolina Brewers and Music Festival.
** CRVA Research, 2016 Out-of-market Perception Study
***Charlotte Chamber Craft Beer Impact
**** TheStreet.com 10 Cities Where Craft Beer is Taking Off
† The Charlotte region refers to the 16-county region around Charlotte, including 12 counties in North Carolina and four counties in South Carolina.