Charlotte drinks a lot of beer. Here’s how much.

Helena V Berbie

Eight Charlotte breweries poured and sold a total of 210,000+ pints of beer in July. The city, we should say, has 35+ breweries.

Why it matters: Every time a new brewery is announced, you’ll see a slew of comments to the tune of “we don’t need another brewery.” But Charlotte, you’re thirsty.

  • And most brewery owners reach a point where they have to decide whether to reinvest in more equipment and space, or stay stagnant. Case in point: Legion Brewing, which is opening a new production facility on West Morehead early next month.
  • They sold 36,997 pints through the Plaza Midwood and SouthPark locations in July. That’s 1,193 a day. And they’re open about 10 hours a day, so let’s just say 119 pints an hour. Between the two locations, that’s about a pint a minute.”

Legion sells as much as it’s able to produce each year, which has been the same since 2018.

  • “The demand for our beer is 10 fold more that our ability to supply it,” owner Phil Buchy said.

We reached out to several breweries in Charlotte to see how many pints they sold through their taprooms in July. Eight shared their data with us: Legion, NoDa Brewing, Resident Culture, Suffolk Punch, Birdsong, Wooden Robot, Divine Barrel and Protagonist.

  • The largest breweries sold around 25-35K pints in July.
  • Mid-size breweries sold around 12-20K pints in July.

By the numbers: On the high side, Legion sold 36,997 pints through is Plaza Midwood and SouthPark locations. And Suffolk Punch did 35,000 pints in July.

  • Mid-size examples: Birdsong did 17,118 pints in July, and Divine Barrel did around 7,000.
  • If all eight breweries produced the same amount each month all year, the beer would fill half of an olympic-sized swimming pool.

Of note: Seasonal fluctuations are normal in the brewery business, and July is the slowest month of the year. Spring and fall, when the weather is more mild, tend to be the busiest times, Birdsong co-founder Tara Goulet said.

  • “We usually attribute [the summer dip] to the heat and folks leaving town for vacation. When it’s brutally hot and humid, fewer customers want to sit outside to drink a beer,” Goulet explained.

Zoom out: In 2020, the five biggest breweries in Charlotte — OMB, Sycamore, NoDa, Legion and Birdsong — produced more than 17 million pints combined, even with taprooms closed at the start of the pandemic. Most larger breweries’ sales were propped up by their ability to sell cans in grocery stores, the Charlotte Ledger reported.

  • NoDa Brewing, the third largest brewery in Charlotte, has cranked out more than 3.3 million pints a year, between taproom and distribution sales, over the last few years.
  • And their 2021 sales are expected to exceed that. Already by August 2021, they’d produced 3.34 million pints, according to data shared with Axios Charlotte.
  • The brewery is adding about 16,000 square feet of space to its North Tryon location to keep up with the demand.

Bottom line: Even during slowdowns, caused by seasonality or the pandemic, Charlotte breweries are still selling.

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