When Raleigh Brewing Company’s owners, Kristie and Patrick Nystedt, were kicking around ideas for a new Triangle venture in 2010 with home brewer John Federal, they all wanted something more than just a brewery.
“The plan evolved into a ‘brewtopia,'” says Federal, who graduated from NC State in 2006 with an English degree. “We wanted to have a large tap room and a home brew store. And we wanted it central to the Raleigh area.”
And with a brewery, a tap room and a 3,300 square-foot home brew store all on site located near PNC Arena and NC State, that’s exactly what they got. There, visitors can get a tour of the brewery, sample such beers as the Hidden Pipe Porter or the City of Blokes Bitter or get tips for brewing their own beer at home.
Federal, a former social worker in South Boston, Va., met Patrick Nystedt when Federal was working at a home brew store. He says he had been approached about starting breweries before, but the Nystedts offered a tangible piece he’d never seen. “No one had put together a business plan before,” Federal says.
Now a production manager and brewer with Raleigh Brewing Company, Federal says that the key to surviving as a brewery is not just stumbling upon a good beer, but being able to replicate it time and again.
“I have a big thick recipe book of all the things I’ve tried over the years,” he says. “Consistent beer is what can make or break a brewery. There are a lot of breweries out there. You have to set yourself apart and let customers know they’re going to get a quality product every time.”
Raleigh Brewing Company is one of dozens of vendors – including restaurants, farms, breweries, wineries and bakeries – participating in the Red & White Food and Beverage Festival during the week of homecoming. All of the vendors have NC State connections, with alumni as owners or managers. The festival is scheduled for 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 29, at The State Club in the Park Alumni Center. Visit the festival website to register and see a full list of vendors participating.