RALEIGH, July 19, 2012 - North Carolina’s Inner Banks region typically serves as part of the passage for tourists looking to catch the overshadowing prime beach front properties famously known as the Outer Banks. For a long time I couldn’t figure out just what that sticker every SUV, Jeep and van had that so proudly spelled “OBX” meant.
I could have just gotten closer to any of the cars to clear up any ambiguity, but perhaps it just wasn’t that pertinent. The area gets enough acknowledgment as it is anyway.
But what about “IBX”? While it doesn’t seem any drivers will adorn the back of their vehicles with the letters anytime soon, I find it to be a surprise. Between the plentiful refuges that host untouched wildlife, plus historian after archeologist flocking to towns like Edenton and Columbia to bask in the rich past, it comes as a surprise that the wide area is seldom discussed.
The reasons for wonder do not end there. The Inner Banks also hosts a small city of about 22,000 individuals (as of 2010) called Kinston. Among those individuals are Trent Mooring and Stephen Hill, the founders and owners of Mother Earth Brewery.
Founded only in 2008, the brewery has gone on to be one of the defining staples of Kinston pride, and one of the leading breweries of the North Carolina craft movement.
I must admit that I did not hear of Mother Earth, even being a craft beer geek for the past several years, until I moved to North Carolina just this past February from New York. My attention and curiosity towards their beers didn’t take very long to develop, maybe because they are often in plain sight in any establishment that sells craft here in NC, or it could be because of their one-of-a-kind artwork, as you will see later on.
The Ideal Start
A craft brewery as young as Mother Earth’s would often lead one to assume that the people behind it have a lot to develop in their business and product before breaking into the market – even one that is intrastate. But learning about Mooring and Hill’s devotion and passion for their Mother Earth, both their brewery and their natural surrounding, showed me that there is nothing left to be wondered about their lightning-fast growth.
In an email exchange that Mr. Mooring was kind enough to participate in with me, he told me that the brewery’s quick success was a mixture of varying factors.
“I think a lot of things came together at the right time for us. Stephen and I are both extremely passionate about what we do and I think you see that in our brand.”
Mooring goes on to bring up the “Tripod”, which is made up of himself, Hill and Mother Earth’s brewmaster Josh Brewer. It is between the three of them and the distinctive perspective that each provide that Mooring says allows the brand and the beer to be so connected to their consumer.
Of those consumers, the residents of Kinston were the first to be introduced to the efforts of the infant Mother Earth Brewing. The community – small in size but not in camaraderie – were quick to respond. When asked if Mooring was at all worried about trying to get started in such a small town, it doesn’t seem to have ever crossed his mind.
“We were never worried about starting in Kinston. We both love the area and wanted to do something for our hometown. Our business plan has always been to be a production brewery so it never really mattered to us where the location was. But with a lot of creative effort and community support we are happy to be where we are just shy of 3 years in.”
Beyond Kinston, Mother Earth beers can be found all around North Carolina and Atlanta, Georgia. The DC area is the next point of contact once some new kegs arrive within the same time frame. Be patient DC readers – these things take time.
The beers that Mother Earth brew year-round satisfy varying styles, including their Endless River, a Kölsch beer, a style that was once only brewed in Köln, Germany. Their Second Wind Pale Ale, one of their two canned beers (the other being Sunny Haze, a fine hefeweizen), comes with a refreshing character of citrus and pine hoppiness that I find myself rushing to more and more for.
Maybe it’s because of the awesome can artwork, too,
For part two next week, I will be looking to the environmental efforts of Mother Earth that are turning plenty of heads, as well as the various experimentations that they have been doing from aging beer in pinot noir, chardonnay and brandy barrels, to fermenting with North Carolina fruits.
Mike Lamardo is a blogger and beer geek based out of Raleigh, North Carolina. He writes for various blogs covering subjects like tech, entertainment, critiques of society and music, science, and of course beer. His writing appears in Tech Wire News, DX 3, Indie Media Mag and others. You can get in touch with Mike at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you’re in Raleigh, meet him for a pint.
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