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North Carolina Wineries Jumping Into The Beer Business

on 05/04/13 at 11:22 am


imagesThe craft-beer industry is coming on strong in North Carolina, and the state’s wineries are taking notice.

“North Carolina has one of the most exciting and dynamic beer cultures in the country,” said Erik Lars Myers in his 2012 book, “North Carolina Craft Beer & Breweries.”

His guide listed 45 breweries and brewpubs operating in the state. By the time it was published, Myers knew of about 15 more that were preparing to open. Now the number of breweries is 76, according to the N.C. Alcohol Beverage Control Commission.

Five wineries currently sell their own brand of beer, and more are planning to get into the brewing business.

Winery owners and winemakers have been driven by a desire to catch the craft-beer wave, to broaden their appeal and to draw more visitors — and sometimes just for the sheer fun of it.

“I started brewing beer for myself in the 1980s. I’ve always been interested in having my own brewery. It’s just fun to do,” said Ken Gulaian, who co-owns Round Peak Vineyards in Surry County.

Round Peak starting selling beer last June under the Skull Camp Brewing label. The beer is made by Kent Yocco, Round Peak’s vineyard manager, and Jeff Leftwich, a local beer enthusiast.