Like most people my age, I wasn’t born into a craft beer loving family. I was raised in Georgia with domestic beer drinkers in a time when you couldn’t buy beer on Sunday, but you could enjoy a cold one from the passenger seat of a car. Who knew that decades later the small North Carolina town I chose to call home would open its first brewery and nearby Asheville would earn the title “Beer City”. More than that, who knew that I would develop such a taste for citrusy IPAs and boozy Imperial Stouts. A brewery brings a fresh buzz to a quiet mountain community, and I knew it was a scene I wanted to be a part of. I started by playing music in small breweries and brewpubs. The crowds at breweries were different than the bar room scene I was used to, especially from the stage. The drinkers were there because they had a taste for something finer and an appreciation for a hand crafted world. The best part was that the crowds were no longer made up of beer drinkers alone – it was friends and families of all ages. There was more togetherness.

In 2012, I was offered a job at Nantahala Brewing Company. Over the course of my three years there I would see a lot and learn even more. From brewery merchandise to social media, marketing, and eventually Vice President, I was given the opportunity to see the ins and outs of the craft beer industry as a whole. I had my hands in anything and everything.

{ “Making connections and relationships within the industry is important and apparently as easy as a gentle reach out. Friends of friends prove that in craft beer it is indeed a small world – yet quickly growing, which makes the connections we make now even more important.” -from my notes taken in April 2015 CBC Portland, OR }

In October, I decided to step outside the office job and fall back into the taproom, so to speak. I am looking forward to trying new brews and meeting the people behind the craft. I want to use my love of creative writing to share what I have learned, and will learn, along the way.

The journey has begun. The southeast region is full of amazing breweries and I aim to try as many as I can. Here, I will write about my travel experiences, the people I meet, the beers I taste, and what I learn along the way. I also look forward to having a place to reminisce about past brewery visits and beer events. From small hometown beer fests to the Great American Beer Festival, in this industry, there’s always something to write about.

Cheers!

Liz Nance

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