By Renee DeLuca, WRAL Digital Solutions Account Manager and The Brewer’s Daughter

The NCAA Tournament is upon us, and of course, in this part of North Carolina, that means cheering for any one of many great college basketball teams that are local to the Triangle. But whether you cheer for the NC State Wolfpack, the UNC Tar Heels, or the Duke Blue Devils, you probably have a favorite local beer you like to enjoy while you’re watching the Big Game.

Having moved to Raleigh about a year ago, I’ve been enjoying getting to know the local breweries in my new state. As the daughter of Jack McAuliffe, founder of New Albion Brewing Company, I’ve always said that “beer is in my blood.” New Albion Brewing Company, is acknowledged to be the first post-Prohibition microbrewery in the United States, founded in Sonoma, California in 1976. The current craft beer movement was literally started by my Dad, and I couldn’t be happier to have landed in North Carolina, home to more than 300 craft breweries.

The North Carolina Brewers Guild ( is based in Raleigh, and Executive Director Richard Greene speaks highly of the Triangle beer scene. “The Raleigh area is a microcosm for the entire state,” he said. “Our breweries range from world-class restaurant/brewpubs to neighborhood taprooms where friends and neighbors can meet, and maybe participate in a yoga class, and then enjoy a frothy malt beverage.”

VisitRaleigh has created a Raleigh Beer Trail Passport, and there are 30 breweries currently on their list, from Raleigh to Wake Forest, to Holly Springs and Fuquay-Varina and beyond. I can say that so far, I’ve visited half the number on the Trail at 15. I have my work cut out for me in the coming year as I strive to hit all of them. It’s good to have goals.

The variety of beers you can drink locally—from IPAs to ales and stouts, to pilsners and porters and blondes, to small-batch specialties–is amazing! Like you, I have my favorites. Trophy Wife from Trophy Brewing is my go-to IPA. I enjoyed Lynnwood Brewing Concern’s Kiss My Irish Stout this month as I celebrated St. Patrick’s Day in their beer garden with my dog, Porter. Lonerider’s Shotgun Betty is one of my favorite Hefeweizens. And FunGuy’s Paula Street Pale Ale is great to sip while playing one of their taproom games. I think these breweries would definitely be in my Final Four.

A couple of my favorites on the sour spectrum are the award-winning Cherry B’Bomb sour at Compass Brewing, and the lime-salted gose at Little City—delicious! There is no end to the taste profiles: you are bound to find something you enjoy. April will be a great month to do some sampling as it’s North Carolina Beer Month.

Another aspect of the breweries in this area that is especially meaningful to me is that I’ve run across so many that are owned by women! Raleigh Brewing, Brewery Bhavana, and FunGuys are just a few. Raleigh Brewing’s Kristie Nystedt is co-owner/founder along with her husband Patrik. Their 20 barrel production facility is only the tip of the iceberg of their operation, however, as they also own Atlantic Brew Supply, and the local arm of ABS Commercial, a national brewing equipment company.

“I was an executive in the tech industry, so owning a brewing operation and these other businesses is not a stretch for me,” Kristie explained over a beer in the Raleigh Brewing taproom recently. “It’s about doing the job. It’s what you make of it, whether you’re a man or a woman.”

Having a well–rounded team and product offerings of all kinds is something WRAL Digital Solutions has in common with the brewing community in the Triangle. Lead by savvy digital marketers with years of experience, a strong sales team, as well as customer-focused account managers, project managers, content and SEO specialists, AdOps experts, and a creative design team, we are uniquely positioned to help businesses of all sizes succeed.

Be sure to vote in our NC Craft Beer Bracket to find out who will advance to the Final Four in our brewery playoffs, and will ultimately be crowned the North Carolina Favorite! And give WRAL Digital Solutions a call to discuss your marketing needs—we will create a winning campaign for your business!


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