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By Matt Oakes Matt Oakes is a managing editor at Olympia Media Group and a columnist for WCHL. You can find him on Twitter at @moakes3.

Carolina Brewery Looking To Take The South By Storm

By Matt Oakes Posted June 3, 2013 at 11:32 am

carolina-breweryFans of Carolina Brewery will no longer need to make the pilgrimage to the Chapel Hill area in order to savor their favorite craft brews.

That’s right, A taste of Chapel Hill is coming to bars, stores, and restaurants near everyone. Well, almost everyone.

With the Brewery’s recent announcement, folks in major Southeast havens like Atlanta, Nashville, and Virginia Beach/Norfolk can now grab a local taste from the award-winning, ever-expanding Tar Heel establishment.

Opening its doors in 1995, the Brewery has since claimed standout recognition, growing its reputation as one of the best microbreweries around. Eighteen years has seen the business collect honors galore for their collection of craft beers.

The Brewery won 10 medals at the Carolinas Championship of Beer competition including a gold for its Belgian Tripel, and has taken home multiple medals at the Great American Beer Festival, including a Bronze in 2012 for Sky Blue Golden Ale and a Gold in 2006 for Flagship India Pale Ale.

These accolades have certainly helped pave the way for the current expansionist designs. And targeting more major markets in the Southeast region is all just a part of the plan for Carolina Brewery owner Robert Poitras.

“Our goal is to be a regional Southeast Brewery and we are now filling in our footprint within a 400 mile radius of our brewery. I am very pleased with the hard work of our entire team and we are excited to continue our growth,” says Poitras.

Sweet Caroline! Sky Blue and Flagship IPA — plenty to go around for all. What a treat it is to see a local Chapel Hill brewery looking to expand behind the cozy confines of Franklin Street. There is plenty of the Southern slice of heaven to go around.

Poitras and members of the Brewery team were down in Atlanta on June 1, attending the Atlanta Food & Wine Festival and led a tasting seminar about the growth of craft beer in the south entitled “Southern Craft Brewers Spill It.”

A Chapel Hill business leading the way as pioneers? Sounds good to me.

“The Southern Food and Beverage Movement is red hot and we were honored to be the only NC Brewery available in the tasting tents. I look forward to furthering the message that excellent craft brews are being made in the South and pair very well with Southern foods,” says Poitras.

Of course, there is an argument to be had for keeping these secrets restricted to those who journey to Chapel Hill. It keeps people yearning a return at all costs. However, it is far better to see one of our own local businesses with aims to etch themselves in the hearts and well, palates of consumers, year-round in the Southeast.

And boy, promoting the allure of Chapel Hill in the form of one its most recognizable establishments is a positive for both the University and the Town of Chapel Hill.

So cheers to you, Caroline Brewery. Bring on the good times and memories to all residents of these new markets. Tar Heels and heck, non-Tar Heels even, desire it — even if some of them don’t yet know it.

Ah, yes. With each sip people in Atlanta, Nashville, and Virginia Beach imagine as if they are back strolling down Franklin Street on a lazy Saturday afternoon. They can almost hear the birds singing from Davie Poplar. And is that the Bell Tower chiming in the distance? But alas, with the final dregs of the bottle downed, the sights and sounds fade away like a fantastic dream. Nostalgic bliss returns for a fleeting moment. Ambitions to return to that special place are implanted.

Give them just a taste, no more. It keeps them coming back…

For more information, visit www.carolinabrewery.com.

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