Oral history interview with Jamie Bartholomaus, 2018

University of North Carolina at Greensboro

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0:00 - Opening credits / introduction

0:35 - Background and initial interest in brewing industry

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Partial Transcript: We'll start by asking you to tell us a little bit about yourself.

Segment Synopsis: Bartholomaus describes the beginnings of his professional career in Athens, Ga. as well as his initial interest in the industry.

2:09 - Moving from Athens, Ga. to North Carolina

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Partial Transcript: And what brought you to North Carolina then?

Segment Synopsis: Bartholomaus describes his move to North Carolina in 1997.

3:01 - Opening Foothills Brewing

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Partial Transcript: So moving on to Foothills. What led you to open Foothills?

Segment Synopsis: Bartholomaus discusses why he chose to open Foothills Brewing in Winston-Salem as well as some initial challenges in opening a new brewery.

6:31 - Downtown Winston-Salem as location choice

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Partial Transcript: And pick choosing downtown was, that's where the restaurants were, or?

Segment Synopsis: Bartholomaus discusses his decision to locate the Foothills Brewpub in Downtown Winston-Salem.

7:29 - Mission of Foothills

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Partial Transcript: What do you see as the main mission of theme of Foothills?

Segment Synopsis: Bartholomaus describes what he sees as the main mission of Foothills Brewing and how it ties into the work they do.

8:24 - Craft Happiness IPA Project

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Partial Transcript: Like you mentioned, community support is a focus at Foothills.

Segment Synopsis: Bartholomaus discusses the Craft Happiness IPA Project, which showcases experimental hops and serves as a fundraiser and awareness builder for local causes and non-profits.

Keywords: Community; Craft Happiness IPA Project

9:49 - Balancing food and beer at a brewpub

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Partial Transcript: In talking about the brewpub for a second, how do you go out looking to find the balance between the food and the beer in so far as the focus?

Segment Synopsis: Bartholomaus discusses the importance of food to the success of a brewery. He notes that the restaurant side of the business is a particular key to Foothills' success as it drives traffic on days other than the weekend.

11:18 - Building a family atmosphere at Foothills

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Partial Transcript: Kids night where we have discount on kids food.

Segment Synopsis: Bartholomaus describes the ways Foothills has established a family-friendly environment for customers and staff.

Keywords: Community

11:48 - Production expansion

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Partial Transcript: Foothills expanded its production capacity multiple times.

Segment Synopsis: Bartholomaus describes the many way that Foothills has expanded its production since opening in 2005, including opening of their production and tasting room space on Kimwell Drive.

13:37 - Growth of the North Carolina beer industry

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Partial Transcript: It was our goal when we opened to be a regional brand.

Segment Synopsis: Bartholomaus discusses Foothills' initial goal of being a regional brand as well as changes to the North Carolina craft beer industry due to Pop the Cap.

Keywords: Pop the Cap Movement

14:42 - Partnering with Bookmarks to create Footnote

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Partial Transcript: In 2017, Foothills partnered with Bookmarks, a local literary non-profit to create the cafe Footnote.

Segment Synopsis: Bartholomaus discusses the creation of Footnote, a cafe that Foothills operates in partnership with Bookmarks, a local literary non-profit.

Keywords: Bookmarks; Community; Community engagement

18:10 - Label and marketing art

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Partial Transcript: Foothills has always had beautiful label art.

Segment Synopsis: Bartholomaus discusses the label and marketing art used by Foothills Brewing.

Keywords: Elephant in the Room; Kyle Webster; Shapiro Walker Design

20:14 - Sexual Chocolate

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Partial Transcript: One big event each year, with a bit of a cult following, is your release event for Sexual Chocolate.

Segment Synopsis: Bartholomaus discusses his decision to launch the Sexual Chocolate imperial stout (which he had previously home brewed) as well as his decision to bottle the beer and host an annual release party.

Keywords: Pop the Cap Movement

22:56 - Bourbon barrel aging

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Partial Transcript: How long was it before you start - because you have a bourbon barrel aging as well.

Segment Synopsis: Bartholomaus discusses their decision to begin bourbon barrel aging Sexual Chocolate.

24:47 - Collaboration with Natty Greene's

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Partial Transcript: In early 2018, Foothills started production of three of Natty Greene's core brands.

Segment Synopsis: Bartholomaus describes collaborations with Natty Greene's Brewing Company (Greensboro, NC), including Foothills' 2018 decision to take on production of Natty Greene's three core brands.

Keywords: Natty Greene’s Brewing Company

28:20 - Importance of partnerships in craft beer industry

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Partial Transcript: You were recorded once as saying that partnership represents the future of craft beer. What did you mean by that?

Segment Synopsis: Bartholomaus discusses the importance of partnerships and sharing services in order to increase efficiency and profitability in the craft brewing industry.

Keywords: Community

30:30 - Impact of legislation on the North Carolina brewing industry

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Partial Transcript: Some of the state and local laws, which you've already touched upon, were in place when you first opened have been repealed or changed, but others have not.

Segment Synopsis: Bartholomaus describes the impact of state legislation and Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission (ABC) rules on the North Carolina craft beer industry.

Keywords: legislation; North Carolina Craft Brewers Guild

34:17 - Future of Foothills Brewing

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Partial Transcript: How do you see Foothills growing in the future and what challenges are you facing today?

Segment Synopsis: Bartholomaus describes what he sees as the future of Foothills Brewing, including broadening of the brand and a continued focus on North Carolina.

35:15 - Changes to the brewing industry since he entered the business

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Partial Transcript: How has the brewing scene since you first went into the business?

Segment Synopsis: Bartholomaus describes differences between the industry in the late 1990s and early 2000s versus today. This includes changes made due to communications technologies such as email and cell phones.

Keywords: Community

38:11 - Importance of the North Carolina Craft Brewers Guild and other local guilds and alliances

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Partial Transcript: It's very important that we all stick together.

Segment Synopsis: Bartholomaus discusses the importance of partnership through the North Carolina Craft Brewers Guild and other local brewing guilds and alliances.

Keywords: Community; Legislation; North Carolina Craft Brewers Guild

40:25 - Growth of the industry in the near future

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Partial Transcript: Where do you see the brewing industry in the next five years?

Segment Synopsis: Bartholomaus discusses his views on industry growth in North Carolina over the next five years, including an increased focus on the local as well as increased turnover due to breweries opening and closing.

42:21 - Personal involvement in brewers guilds and associations

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Partial Transcript: You've been incredibly involved with the North Carolina Craft Brewers Guild, the Triad Brewers Alliance, and other professional organizations/associations in the industry.

Segment Synopsis: Bartholomaus describes his personal involvement in brewers guild and associations, as well as the importance of these groups in helping new owners get established in a way that will lead to success.

Keywords: Community; Education; North Carolina Craft Brewers Guild; Triad Brewers Alliance

43:45 - Favorite beer from another North Carolina brewery

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Partial Transcript: What is your favorite beer from a North Carolina brewery other than your own?

Segment Synopsis: Bartholomaus discusses his interest in tasting draft IPAs from any new brewery he visits.

45:49 - Foothills' flagship beer and their newest styles

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Partial Transcript: What would you say Foothills' flagship beer is?

Segment Synopsis: Bartholomaus describes Hoppyum IPA as the Foothills flagship beer. He also discusses the ways Foothills is reimagining the Cottonwood line of beers that they purchased and are re-integrating into the Foothills portfolio.

47:33 - Interview conclusion / closing credits

0:00

RC: Okay, so just go ahead and start by saying your name and spelling it for us.

JB: Yeah, Jamie Bartholomaus. J-A-M-I-E B-A-R-T-H-O-L-O-M-A-U-S.

RC: Okay. So we'll start with our introduction. Today is Tuesday, May 15th, 2018. We're at Foothills Brewing in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

RC: I'm Richard Cox talking today with Jamie Bartholomaus, President, as part of the Well Crafted North Carolina project.

RC: We'll start asking to tell us a little bit about yourself.

JB: Yeah. I was born up north. Grew up in New York ... born in New York, lived in Delaware and Pennsylvania until I went to the University of Georgia, '92 to '96. I started brewing beer in 1993 while I was down there in college.

JB: Towards the beginning of '94 I started working at a brewery in Athens, Blind 1:00Man Ales, that was my beginning of my professional career. Had a degree in anthropology there, did some archeology for a while, and then shifted more towards beer making and working in Brewerism, doing the actual brewing for many years.

RC: Awesome. How did you first become interested in the brewing industry?

JB: Taking anthropology classes, just talking about all different kinds of culture, I was young, and enjoyed drinking beer. Some of my friends and I bought a book, The Complete Joy of Homebrewing by Charlie Papazian. Read it over the summer after my first year at college. When we came back the second year we all pitched in ... got an apartment and pitched in and bought some brewing equipment, and just kind of got going-

RC: How long did that-

JB: That was in '93.

RC: Okay.

JB: Then the guy who sold me home brew supplies became the brewmaster at the 2:00first ... at Blind Man, at the first brewery in Athens, and so it wasn't long after I started working with him there.

RC: What brought you to North Carolina then?

JB: After school, I moved up to near Asheville, in Bat Cave, North Carolina. Really I wanted to get to North Carolina. I heard a lot of good things about Asheville. This was in 1997, and thought I would try to land a brewing job there.

JB: The archeology I was doing ... With archeology, you kind of go where the work is, so it didn't really matter where I lived. We were working in Fayetteville. The company I worked for was in Athens, but we were working in Fayetteville, North Carolina.

JB: It was fine for me to live in North Carolina. I was working at a brewery in Columbia, South Carolina. Anyway, we were doing nine days on, five days off in archeology, and basically on the days off I would go down and make beer at Vista Brewing in Columbia.

RC: Awesome. Moving on to Foothills. What led you to open Foothills, or what led 3:00up to Foothills-

JB: I was working at Old Hickory Brewery in Hickory, North Carolina, for about four and a half years. I wanted to ... I had a feeling like I wanted to grow a brand and make my own brand.

JB: Heard of some people who were thinking about opening something in Winston. There was an old defunct publication called Brew Pub Magazine years ago, and I think they had an article like Top Ten Towns to Open a Brew Pub In.

JB: Winston was in that article ... It was probably from 1995, or something like that. Winston was in there as the right size demographic, and population, education, certain things that hit the target for craft beer, back then, anyway.

RC: Mm-hmm (affirmative). That was 2004 when you-

JB: Yeah, we actually opened ... We established in '04, and we actually opened 4:00in '05. We intended to open in '04, but had little delays. Our contractor went bankrupt on our job. He was doing a lot of downtown restaurants at the time. It was Restaurant Row ... There was some public funding, city funding, Restaurant Row program, a loan program, and doing that.

JB: He had done a lot of the projects that were all in that, and a couple of them never paid him. He ended up ... He was trying to catch up on the job for the other subs, and all our subs just stopped showing up. We were like, "Where are they?" It was a whole mess. We were trying to pay them instead of him. That was definitely ... caused some delays for us, because we had to basically pay the subs every week for them to keep coming back. That was definitely one of the challenges we had opening.

5:00

RC: You have any other major challenges while you were opening?

JB: Just the renovation of an old building. In 1928 is when the back part of the building was built. I think some time in the 30s the front part of the building, which is when the steel construction was built.

JB: It was just a really old, really beat-up building, and there was a lot of rehab, a lot of unexpected things we bumped into. Architect lived out of town, so he never really came to the building. Between that and the contractor becoming bankrupt it was tough.

JB: We had to end up double paying most of the subs to ... because they didn't get the money from the contractor, so we had to ... They all had liens on our building.

JB: We had a SBA funding, so we couldn't finalize that funding until we took 6:00care of all these liens that the subs had put on the building, so we had to end up basically double paying for a lot of the work. Those were some initial challenges that ... For a little while I didn't know if we were gonna get open.

RC: Wow. SBA was a small business associate?

JB: Yeah, small business administration. We had money from a downtown foundation, City of Winston-Salem, we had a small amount of money, and Bank of North Carolina was our original lender.

RC: Yeah. Choosing downtown, that's where the restaurants were, or?

JB: Well, there weren't hardly any restaurants downtown back then. It was really about availability of buildings. Yeah, back then, and still now, brewpubs tend to go in downtown locations where ... A lot of them have been part of revitalization programs in downtown areas where there's either money offered, or there's sidewalk improvements, or things of that nature that tend to bring early businesses down to the downtown area.

7:00

JB: When we opened, Bistro 420 was downtown, Cat's Corner, Downtown Deli, and that was really about it. There was just a couple small little places. Then right around the same time we opened Sixth & Vine, which opened, was another big step. It was the first thing up on Trade Street to really open.

RC: Wow. What do you see as the main mission or theme of Foothills?

JB: Somebody who will serve the community ... and keep people happy. We have a saying that one of our ... Our IPA projects, Craft Happiness, and that's ... I think something that is an underlying mission in what we do. Obviously, we're making beer, but it's really about bringing people together, tying community in, 8:00and just keeping people happy.

JB: We're obviously a brewpub, we serve food and all sorts of stuff there. It's just really about being a meeting place, and being a connector ... a social connector of people.

RC: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Like you mentioned, community support is our focus at Foothills. Can you talk a little bit more about what the Craft Happiness project, IPA project is, and any other types of fundraising or awareness, building work that you've done?

JB: Yeah. We've been doing, this is our fifth year doing quote of the month series where basically we're doing a different beer every month, different IPA every month. It showcases all kinds of experimental hops, and just gives some of our brewers some freedom to ... and our brewmaster, freedom to get to try new things, brew new things.

JB: We tie it in with community by picking a cause of some sort that we may want 9:00to support. Just donating some money to that cause and just bring awareness more than anything. Nonprofits and some various causes have their own outreach program, but as a brewery we have a unique opportunity to reach the public, because people just enjoy beer, and enjoy reading about it.

JB: By highlighting various causes and nonprofits we're able to shine the extra light on those, whether it's a local nonprofit, or a regional one, or whatever.

RC: Sure. Talking about the brewpub for a second, how do you go about looking to find the balance between the food and the beer, as far as the focus?

JB: The brewpub ... We're breweries so there's always a focus on beer, but for 10:00longevity you really need to have the focus be on food.

JB: When we first opened we were much more of a bar and less of a restaurant. As a result, most of our business was on Friday and Saturday nights, and we realized early on that, that wasn't gonna be the key to success.

JB: I was just remembering yesterday, back in 2009, it was a really cold and snowy winter. We had four weekends in a row of ... like, on Friday it snowed, and it was a realization to me that we really needed to develop the rest of the week in our business so that we had more business on a day-to-day basis, instead of just bar business.

JB: We really made a concerted effort to drive focus to the food, and to the restaurant more, and really have since. Again, the beer is there, we're a 11:00brewery, there's no escaping it, but bars are fickle or they can be. Restaurants can be fickle too, but less so, by catering to ... We have kids night where we have discounts on kids food, and that kind of stuff.

JB: Anything we can do to bring in family. We want a lot of family atmosphere and families come on a day-to-day basis. We want them to feel welcome with the children. Many of the people who work here are younger. There's a lot of young kids running around both of our places, and we want the customers to feel the same way, feel welcome to bring their children or anyone.

RC: Awesome. Foothills expanded its production capacity multiple times. Can you talk a bit about this process, and how you see this as an important to Foothills, and the craft brewing industry?

JB: When we opened we were ... we just started selling at our brewpub, and then 12:00we started selling draft only at The Market Place, and we self-distributed. We were able to expand several times in the brewpub. We used to joke that we were beating that building into the ground, and it kind of culminated ... We about drove a forklift into the basement because the floor collapsed in a small part.

JB: We ended up filling the basement in over there with concrete so that wouldn't happen again. The forklift didn't fall in, it just ... one of the wheels' kind of poked through the floor.

JB: Yeah, we were able to expand as much as we could over there, and then we had to build this place on Kimwell Drive where we are now. It was a huge leap of faith for us and our brand. We had gotten to about 7,500 barrels at the brewpub, and we think we could feasibly do up to about 200,000 barrels in this building.

13:00

JB: When we moved here we were doing 7,000 barrels, so it was a pretty empty building back then. We opened basically at the beginning of 2012, we started brewing. We're now seven ... How many years? How many years is that? Five years. This is our sixth year here.

JB: We definitely filled it in over time. We did just under 41,000 barrels last year. We've had a series of expansions here, as just a necessary thing as we grow. It was our goal when we opened to be a regional brand. We think that's what we are. We're in six states around the southeast.

JB: We were one of the ... We were the 19th brewery to open in the state. Now there's about 270, so a lot of change regarding that. When we opened there wasn't that much going on in the state, but they popped the cap the same year we 14:00opened, and that brought a lot of increased awareness to craft beer, because really just law change, and a lot of people ... it was in the news a lot, so there was a lot of awareness about that. It really helped jumpstart the craft beer industry here in the state.

JB: We had many years of really large growth, just draft only really in North Carolina. There just weren't many brands here. Now with 260, 270 breweries, definitely more challenging at the marketplace than it was when we were first getting going.

RC: Wow. In 2017, Foothills partnered with Bookmarks, a local literary nonprofit to create the cafe Footnote. How did that partnership come about?

JB: I read about it. Let me back up, the building next to us has changed ownership a couple times, and a few of the original people were gonna rehab some 15:00of the buildings. It just never happened until the most recent owner, when they bought basically the whole rest of the block past us. They basically renovated almost all the spaces now.

JB: Texas Pete or Garner Foods is up in the upper area, and a bunch of other small little businesses in the downstairs area. The building in the back ... Various investor groups looked at the property. We had talked to a lot of them about maybe putting in a restaurant or something. The place was a little too big, and we ... While we were talking to them we found out that Bookmarks was gonna go and ... they decided to take half that space.

JB: I read an article about it in the local paper, and I reached out to Ginger [Hendricks], who is the executive director of Bookmarks. She had mentioned something about wanting to have a little cafe or coffee shop in the article.

16:00

JB: My wife and I had been roasting coffee for about 14 years, and we had bought the commercial roaster out of Brew Nerds, which is over here off of Hanes Mall Road, and it's just been sitting here. I've owned it for three and a half years now.

JB: I called her up, I said, "I'm excited to hear about your project. Do you want a coffee roaster to put in? If you're gonna have a coffee shop do you want to roast coffee in there?," or something like that. She was like, "Oh, funny. I was gonna call you to see if Foothills wanted to maybe run the coffee shop in our space."

JB: We didn't think a coffee shop in the bookstore might work out that well, because we had to be open only when they were, but we worked it out so we were right next to it, so it's a nice symbiotic relationship. When they're open we have big doors open, people can come in and out between the bookstore and the coffee shop.

JB: When they're closed we just close the door and lock the doors so no one will go in the bookstore. We do a lot of events in the ... It's a place called 17:00Footnote. We were doing a lot of private parties, and anniversaries, and wedding rehearsal dinners, and lunch meetings, that kind of stuff. That's mainly what the space is for.

JB: Right next to our brewpub we poked a hole through the wall and expanded our kitchen so that we're able to service larger parties over there. It was something we were never able to do in our restaurant.

JB: It's very important to us to stay open at our restaurant so our regular customers, we'll always be available to them, so we've always turned down larger parties, because we're just not able to accommodate it.

JB: This gives us the opportunity to really service up to about 230 people in that space. It's like three different areas or spaces where we can accommodate people there.

JB: It was just a nice symbiotic relationship with the bookstore, and they wanted a coffee shop. We wanted to open an event space, and we needed a bar area 18:00anyway, so it just worked out.

RC: Nice.

JB: We're happy it's happened.

RC: Awesome. Foothills has always had beautiful label art. Can you talk a little bit about the importance of interesting and distinctive label art? Promotional art, I suppose.

JB: Yeah, the company, Shapiro Walker Design was a company here in town that is a graphic design firm. Now they've merged with another company called Elephant in the Room, as the guys we originally worked kind of stepped back. They were a little bit older, Dave Shapiro, they were kind of maybe retiring or semi-retiring in the next few years.

JB: Kyle Webster is the artist of all ... for all our labels. He used to work at Shapiro Walker. Since he's gone out on his own and been a very successful digital brush business, which he sold to Adobe. He still does our ... He works for Adobe full-time, but he still does all our art.

19:00

JB: Dave Shapiro at Elephant in the Room and their whole team has been instrumental with ... There's a lot more that goes into it than just the actual art, it's the design of the package, the bottle label, the six pack, how it's portrayed, whether it's a digital format or on paper.

JB: We've worked with David and the team over there since the beginning. They really preach consistency and recognize ... focus and recognizability, is that a word?

RC: It is now.

JB: We've kept that train of thought always as we design new stuff just to make sure, does it look like Foothills? Is it easily recognizable as one of our brands? Good beer is the ante in this business. You have to have good or great beer, but you also have to have a good business plan, it has to look attractive, 20:00and you have to have people that can actually sell it.

JB: There's more than just great beer that goes into it, it has to be a full package. We think the art and graphic design is part of that.

RC: Thanks. One big event each year with a bit of a cult following is your release event for Sexual Chocolate. How did that event develop?

JB: After Pop the Cap happened we were allowed to make stronger beers, and all the breweries were. It opened up a whole variety of styles that we were not allowed to make legally in the state that all of a sudden we could make.

JB: Our brewery, like a lot of others, started delving into some higher alcohol beers and Imperial style is a style that's typically higher alcohol.

JB: Sexual Chocolate was a beer that I made back in college as a home brew for Valentine's Day, it was a beer we put chocolate in it, and it was well received from our friends, so we thought it would be fun to bring it out commercial-scale.

21:00

JB: The first year we just did a draft only and it was very well received. There weren't a lot of Imperial Stouts. Most of them that were in the state were maybe from other breweries in other states, but there were very few of them that were made in North Carolina.

JB: It was kind of exciting for a lot of the people who were really into beer to just have a homegrown Imperial Stout. Sort of a provocative name and label, so people were interested in what it was and what we were doing.

JB: To the tune that we were getting a lot of emails about trying to get bottles, and trying to bottle 12 ounce bottles off of growlers, which, if you know anything about growlers it's not the ideal way to fill bottles.

JB: We started thinking well, "Maybe we'll do it next year, we'll bottle a little bit next year," so we did. We did like 500 bottles, they were all 22:00hand-bottled, and capped, and hand-labeled, hand-numbered. It was well received and we just slowly kind of grown it a little bit every year since then.

JB: Trying to maintain the feel of what we did initially. I believe, if not the very first, it was certainly one of the first bottle releases in the southeast. There was only five breweries in the country doing bottle releases or something like that, or that were well-known at the time. There were very few.

JB: Now, there's three or four a weekend in North Carolina, so it's a whole other ... The beer industry is much different now than it was then. It was a very unusual and exciting thing back then.

RC: How long was it before you started? You have a bourbon barrel-aged version, as well. How long-

23:00

JB: We started doing that a couple years after the regular version. We just had access to some barrels. We were first ... Like many things in this industry there was not a lot of barrel aging going on back then.

JB: We thought it would be fun to call up Buffalo Trace Distillery and see ... We were able to get some 23-year-old Pappy Van Winkle barrels, which was ... If anyone knows anything about bourbon it's a very rare and exciting bourbon. I think for 20 years rated the best bourbon in the world or something like that.

JB: Back then it was like you could basically have your pick of what kind of barrels you could get. Great beer sought after, in conjunction with a great bourbon barrel, so to speak, that was highly sought after, made for just a great combination of beer, certainly a great flavor.

JB: Nowadays, we're not able to get the Pappy barrels much anymore. Buffalo 24:00Trace has started doing a lot of other liquors besides just straight bourbon. They're doing a lot of corn whiskies and that kind of stuff, where bourbon you're only allowed to use a barrel, a virgin oak barrel one time.

JB: They've started reusing a lot of their own barrels, as well as sending a lot of them to Scotland for scotch ... is often in bourbon barrels it's done. Availability in general of select kinds of bourbon barrels is much less than it used to be.

JB: We still have great good luck getting great barrels, it's just not the rareness that it used to be.

RC: Right. In early 2018, Foothills started production of three of Natty Greene's core brands. How did that come about?

JB: I've been friends with the owners of Natty Greene's for a long time, since we opened within eight months of each other or so. We both had our growth 25:00trajectory, so to speak.

JB: If you had asked each of us back in 2010, there was a lot ... a whole lot less breweries back then, and I think our expectations for growth were different than they are now. We've certainly tempered our growth expectations with 270 breweries in the market versus 18-20.

JB: Both of us always talked about putting in these ... having these grand plans of building these huge breweries with 100 barrel ROLEC systems, and ROLEC's is a fancy automated German system that not that many breweries have, it's expensive.

JB: I used to say to Chris Lester over there at Natty Greene's often, "We probably both don't need 100 barrel ROLEC's. The chances that there's gonna be 26:00two breweries of that size in the triad, it's probably pretty slim." We've said that to each other over the years.

JB: As plans changed, they're building ... maybe building a new brewery, and moving out of their brewery, and de-emphasizing the production and more focusing on retail.

JB: They just came to me one day and said, "You know we've always talked about how we both don't need all this equipment. Maybe you'd make beer for us and we would refocus on some more seasonal or specialty brands, since we have a large facility."

JB: I've been brewing for ... in the brewing industry for 25 years now. I think those guys came to the realization that they prefer the restaurateur side or the retail side to production, and large scale production is very capital-intensive, 27:00and it takes a lot of focus on numbers, and inventory, not nearly as exciting as retail, but it's important too.

JB: It's something that I always had planned to try to do and want to continue. We were happy to start doing it. We've only put out four or five batches for ... That's only been the last couple months that we started, but it's going well, and they seem to be happy. It's gonna help them streamline some operations, it helps us be more efficient with our equipment, and labor, and everything.

JB: It just made sense from a shared service perspective, and as competition gets more fierce out there, so to speak, efficiency and profitability is key out there. You got to be able to make money. No longer is it just open a brewery and ... There's a lot of people that think they're gonna get rich opening a brewery 28:00in a year. The reality is that does not happen very often.

JB: It takes hard work, and time, and patience, and you want to have a utilization rating your equipment as high as possible, because that's how you're profitable ultimately.

RC: Mm-hmm (affirmative). You were quoted once as saying that "Partnership represents the future of craft beer." What did you mean by that?

JB: Just what I just said, really is shared services, and efficiency. That's the kind of thing that people are willing to embrace. The fact that they have to run a business first, even if it is their passion, it has to be profitable to stay open.

JB: I think a lot of newcomers have more passion than is probably good for them, because, at the end of the day you have to ... your expectations and business plan have to be aligned with reality.

29:00

JB: Yeah, that's what I meant by that. I think craft brewers tend to have too much pride. It makes sense, we're prideful people, we make a product that we're trying to sell to people. We have to believe in it for others to believe in it, but there's a tendency to want a monument or shrine to your brand, when maybe it makes more sense for equipment to be cross-utilized with several brands.

JB: In the long run I think that's the kind of thing we're gonna see more and more of is breweries teaming up so equipment can be utilized more. For a long time our national association, The Brewers Association, said, "What's holding craft beer back is capital, access to capital." In other words, there's not enough capital coming into the business.

JB: Now it's business flooded with capital, but what you're seeing is all this 30:00equipment that's utilized at a 10% rate or very little. You cannot make money like that. I think there's gonna be a lot of rationalization of expenditures in the next few years.

JB: There will definitely be some people who will hold on to their pride too much. They may not be around.

RC: Right. Okay. Some of the state and local laws which you already touched upon were in place when you first opened have been repealed or changed, but others have not. How do you see legislation impacting Foothills and the brewing industry in North Carolina over the course of your time in the business?

JB: I've been part of the Brewers Guild pretty much since its inception. I helped start it back in '08. I'm now president of the board again.

31:00

JB: The ABC rules is a big part of our focus for our guild. Last year we passed a fairly large brewers bill with ten pieces in it, and it got attached to the Brunch Bill. One of the most important pieces of that was, in my opinion, was the quality assurance piece that basically allowed all labs, brewery labs, to do sensory work.

JB: ABC law is you're not allowed to drink any alcohol when you're on the clock, but the lab people cannot do their job, which is a large part of the quality control is sensory and they can't do that while on the clock, so they changed the law so then that is now allowed.

JB: That was a very important piece, because basically every single brewery was breaking that law, including Miller when it was open, the Schlitz Brewery here in Winston. In North Carolina if it's not expressly permitted it's prohibited.

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JB: A lot of stuff that may have been inferred as legal, but if it's not specifically stated then it's not legal. A lot of the stuff that our guild is trying to help change focuses on that as clarification on law, or stuff where ... items where there might be gray areas and open to interpretation.

JB: We're trying to help with the interpretation so there's more spelled out, because now there's ... with so many breweries and so many different plans, different business plans, the laws are being pushed and pulled in every direction, tested.

JB: In a lot of cases it's not clear as something that's legal or illegal. Obviously, that's not a good plan for businesses trying to make their way. You want to stay within the law, obviously, but sometimes things come up that never 33:00come up before just because the sheer number of breweries, and events, and opportunities to sell beer out there as they've grown. That's one of our big focuses.

JB: Honestly, the laws are pretty darn good in North Carolina. It's one of the reasons why there's more breweries in the state than any state in the southeast.

JB: Our guild slogan is The State of Southern Beer. We really think it is. It has the most favorable laws of any state in the southeast. That doesn't mean that there aren't additional things that can be clarified or ... I don't want to use the word fixed, but it's mainly about clarification, or corrected, based on antiquated ideas.

JB: The Brunch Bill is a good thing. If it was about blue laws, there's a lot of 34:00people in the population that might want to have a drink before 12:00. As the state and population's attitude has changed it makes sense the laws are changed, too, to match that.

RC: Yeah. How do you see Foothills growing in the future and what challenges are you facing today?

JB: We continue to double down in North Carolina. That's where most of our sales are, and we think most of our sales will continue to be. We just opened an additional retail location that helps strengthen and broaden our brand.

JB: We're roasting coffee. It's not a huge revenue driver for us, but it's really a broadening of our brand and awareness for our coffee shop, doing our own coffee there, so to speak.

JB: Really it's just continued focus where we are, the markets where we are, North Carolina, especially, and potentially some more retail in the future and 35:00some other parts of North Carolina.

JB: We're really just staying put in North Carolina and just trying to make a difference here where we are.

RC: How has the brewing scene changed since you first went into the business?

JB: There wasn't internet when I first went into the business, there wasn't really cell phones, and there were maybe 800 breweries in the country. There was a much more collaborative spirit, and there still is, but back then there was a much more collaborative spirit, because there was so few people working in the industry gathering information about beer, or equipment, or vendors was very difficult.

JB: You couldn't just hop on Google and find 19 people to send you or sell you grain. There was one place, two places, that was about it. Just finding 36:00information ... When you wanted to call a brewer, most places were brewpubs back then. You had to call and talk to the hostess at lunch, "Is the brewer in?," you know? "Can I talk to him?" That was the only way you could get in touch with people. There weren't cell phones really, not in the brewing industry anyway.

JB: It was a, "We're all in this together," kind of spirit. I like to think I hold that spirit to this day because of my history in the industry.

JB: There's a lot new insurance coming in that are not from the service industry or from the manufacturing industry. Software, advertising, lawyers, doctors, anyone who has a pile of money and likes beer might be getting into the beer industry these days.

JB: Not to bash certain population groups, but I read something ... There's a 37:00beer blog, kind of a famous guy ... that comes out every day, and he talks about ... He was talking about Millennials, but you could really say anyone from another industry that doesn't necessarily have that collaborative spirit of the food industry sometimes, like a software company or something like that.

JB: Those people coming into the industry with conjunction with a lot of the domestic brewers sales teams, like the Bud, Miller, Coors, a lot of their regional managers, or people coming from their distributor groups who have money, and have very aggressive sales tactics. Those people coming together with people who maybe weren't in this industry is now becoming ... the industry is becoming a lot more competitive, a lot less cooperative, and a lot more protectionist, frankly.

JB: My everyday goes about to combat those feelings, whether it's through the 38:00guild, or outreach with small brewers, as far as giving advice, or just trying to help. It's very important that we all stick together, because we're not only fighting against each other from business in the marketplace, we're competing against the big breweries, and domestic breweries. We're competing against wine, spirits, and all kinds of other non-alcoholic beverages, too, frankly.

JB: We need ... breweries need to stick together and really work to lift the ... our industry, and by being cooperative and collaborative, we have a much better chance of doing that, as opposed to in-fighting.

JB: Anyway, my focus in the guild focuses a lot on bringing people together. Legislative isn't necessarily a part of it, but, frankly, legislative issues 39:00tend to divide people more than they bring them together.

JB: For instance, in states like New Jersey, Colorado a few years ago, I think it's ... Is it Idaho, where there's actually some ... two state guilds, there's secondary guilds forming. In this state, and a lot of states there's local alliances, which are more like regional marketing groups.

JB: As these groups find their way they're finding that sometimes there's conflict with state guilds. The Brewers Association only recognizes one guild per state, so it's critical that these groups stick together.

RC: Yeah.

JB: Certainly the legislative bodies do not want to hear from multiple groups from the same industry. In fact, they don't even want to hear from brewers, and distributors, they want to hear as one voice.

JB: A big thing we're doing is we're really trying to work hard along with the 40:00distributors to have a more collaborative voice ... a more unified voice is the word I should use, so when we go to the legislature we already hashed out any disagreements, we go to them with a plan that everybody's already in agreement with. A lot better chance to get something done.

RC: Tying into that, where do you see the brewing industry in the next five years?

JB: There's still 60 breweries in North Carolina in planning. Whether they'll all open or not I don't know. In general, there's a move to neighborhood and uber local places, basically like a small bar.

JB: Our taster room here, we only sell beer basically. We have a tiny bit of wine, but it's mainly just a beer bar. I see more and more of that. Again, we may consider some of the additional retail locations across the state in the 41:00future. I see a lot of that.

JB: I see a lot of breweries going out of business. Right now there's a lot of turnover where breweries may decide they don't want to be open anymore, but people are moving immediately into the old brewery. Seeing that all across the country, but in North Carolina in the past 12-18 months I think I'd say at least 10 breweries have turned over.

JB: You might not hear about it because the place might keep the same name, or it's just a new brewery that opened in a brewery that decided not to stay open. I think there's gonna be a lot more turnover.

JB: First time there's a recession, all the capital coming, there's gonna be capital calls out of the wazoo I think from banks and lenders. I think we'll see breweries who did not align their growth expect ... growth plan with the reality of what's in the marketplace, I think some of those places will close.

42:00

JB: People who, again, embrace shared services and working together I think will do better, as opposed to people who are trying to build monuments to the brands.

RC: No, yeah. Talking about brewers guild and alliances for a minute. You've been incredibly involved with the North Carolina Craft Brewers Guild, the Tri Brewers Alliance, and other professional organizations/associations in the industry. What do you see as the benefits of these types of organizations?

JB: For me it's giving back. I've been in the industry for a long time. I want to make sure that people who decide to come into the industry have information, education, so they're doing the best job they can.

JB: I've helped people with different breweries with business plans, design plans, real estate, looking at real estate with people. Anything I can just to help people, set them up for success.

43:00

JB: I feel a calling to do that, shall we say? I just feel like since I have been doing it for a long time I've seen a lot of good and bad breweries. Breweries do well, breweries fail, I've worked with good and bad ones. I think I have insight that I can share.

JB: I'm pretty easy going, I'm also pretty opinionated, so I want to help shape what's going on in our industry and our state. By being part of these groups I have the opportunity to do that.

RC: What is your favorite beer from a North Carolina brewery other than your own?

JB: Whatever IPA is on draft and fresh. For me draft beer is the best. I think a lot of people would agree, as opposed to a package. Wherever I am I just look 44:00for new stuff I haven't had. Hopefully it's good and fresh. I think that's similar to a lot of people in this industry.

JB: They say craft drinkers aren't very brand loyal, they're loyal to craft, but they're not necessarily loyal to any one brewery. It makes it a lot more difficult to build brand loyalty, because craft drinkers, or people who eat gourmet food, or any kind of beverage, I think in general seek out quality even if it's not the brand they're used to.

JB: I think it's not just craft brewers, it's anyone who enjoys gourmet, I think is a word a lot of people use to ... just higher quality things in general. They want a connection with people who make the stuff, and that's what ... I joke, it's our inefficiency as a craft brewer is what people are attracted to, right?

45:00

JB: We employ a hundred times as many people per barrel as Anheuser-Busch. They have a rule of thumb, it's like, one person per 100,000 barrels. Where in a brewery our size it would be like one person per thousand barrels, but you would support a lot of families.

JB: A lot of people know somebody, even if they don't know someone that owns a brewery, they know someone that works at one. The stories, and the families that grow as the business grows, and that's I think what people are attracted to in the industry.

JB: Going back to your question ... I don't know ... Yeah. Whatever is fresh on tap is what I like.

RC: What would you say Foothills flagship beer is?

JB: The Hoppyum is by far the flagship beer. It's over half our sales. It is the number two six pack in North Carolina in the grocery stores, so definitely Hoppyum.

46:00

RC: What is your favorite bill from Foothills?

JB: It's probably Hoppyum. That's what I drink more often than not. I drink all of our beers, but I tend to gravitate back towards that one.

JB: We did just roll out a couple new beers, A Thousand Smiles Golden Ale, and Tangled Vine Berry Rosé. We retired a couple beers that were kind of a similar style. There were brands we purchased along with our brewing equipment in this place. We're discontinuing those and kind of re-imagining those beers as the new ones ... bring them more into the Foothills fold, they didn't have our artwork on them. As a result they weren't easily identifiable as Foothills brands, and ... so, anyway.

JB: These are brands that don't really fit into ... Excuse me, they fit in much 47:00better to our portfolio. We tend to be IPA-heavy, so by having a lighter beer, kind of a fruit beer, and also our Amber, Malt Shaker Amber is a new beer we just came out with in the past year.

JB: These are styles that we don't really play in that much, so we just feel like it's a broadening of our portfolio. By far, Hoppyum is our big beer.

RC: Awesome. Do you have anything else you'd like to add?

JB: I don't think so.

RC: Thanks for your time.

JB: All right, great, yeah.

RC: Great. Thank you.

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