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    The Porch — craft beer

    Porch Fly Spring Release Party!

    Porch Fly Spring Release Party!

     

    I know what you're thinking. "It's not spring yet, what are they doing?" Well, you're wrong. The weather is amazing, and it's time to officially put winter in a body bag. What better way to kick off the spring of 2017 than with a bunch of new tees, tanks, hats, candles, and more!

    We'll be hanging out from 2-5pm at Neuse River Brewing Co. with our entire collection! Don't worry, we'll have you home in time for the ACC Championship! Check the full schedule and event info below. 


    FOOD: Food trucks on-site throughout the event.
    Chirba Chirba (http://bit.ly/1URssC9)
    Cocoa Forte (http://bit.ly/2m06f9l)

    OTHER WARES: We're bringing some talented friends with us.
    EmoJugs (http://bit.ly/2m10iqU)
    The Noble Woodsman (http://bit.ly/2lEK31G)

    BEER SPECIALS: $4 Misfit Wits throughout the event!

    RAFFLES: Pieces from the new collection will be raffled off throughout the day, with all ticket proceeds going to benefit two amazing non-profits we support:

    The Nature Conservancy (http://bit.ly/2lyIKk6)
    The Scott-Free Scholarship Foundation (http://bit.ly/1LfpfZ5).

    FREE AND OPEN TO THE PUBLIC - See you on the 11th!

    To learn more about Porch Fly Clothing, visit porchfly.com and follow us on Instagram @porchflyclothing

     

    - Josh

    RALEIGH HUSTLES HARD - NEUSE RIVER BREWING CO.

    It seems like every week there’s a new brewery popping up in Raleigh. Of course, nobody is complaining. The economic impact of the beer industry across North Carolina is undeniable. In 2014, it brought nearly $8 billion into the states economy, while creating over 26k jobs and over $213 million in state and local taxes (National Beer Wholesalers Association). One of the most recent and exciting breweries to call Raleigh home, is Neuse River Brewing Company (NRBC). Owners, Ryan Kolarov and David Powell, both NC natives, moved back to Raleigh in 2012 from Northern California to be a part of the movement. We sat down with David and Ryan for our latest installment of Raleigh Hustles Hard, to learn more about how they went from home brewers with a dream to a couple of Raleigh’s coolest new small business owners.

    David and Ryan have been home brewing for as long as they can remember. David’s passion began while living in Brooklyn, NY, working in the film industry. At the time, Ryan was brewing his own beer at home, over 1,600 miles away in St. Thomas. As fate would have it, life brought them unknowingly, six miles from each other in Northern California. By complete chance, they reconnected in 2009 and almost immediately starting brewing. “We both had such unique styles that complimented each other”, said Ryan. In early 2010, they began brewing in Ryan’s garage. Ryan was working in the brewery and winery industry at the time, so they were blessed with a lot of resources and great ingredients to pull from. “We just started experimenting and playing around with non-traditional ideas, and it turned out well”, said David. They were focused from the beginning. “From the moment we started brewing together, everything we created was working towards the dream of opening our brewery.”

    David and Ryan made the move back to Raleigh in 2012. With two growing families and Raleigh’s growing market, they saw a great opportunity in coming back home. “We grew up here. Raleigh is home for us. We have an awesome beer, food, and art culture that’s been emerging for the last ten years. It’s created a great atmosphere for this market.” Once back, they hit the ground the running. David began working at World Of Beer, getting a crash course in cost analysis and purchasing, as well as gaining invaluable insight into the current market value and consumer habits. “It really helped us understand the kind of beer and even particular flavors that the client was after.” While David was learning at World of Beer, Ryan began market research, scouting locations, and building the business plan for the brewery. Even with the years of experimenting and planning, opening NRBC did not come without huge risk. Both Ryan and David, along with their families, made significant sacrifices, even at a point moving back in with their parents and cashing out retirement accounts to purchase the necessary equipment. But with a lot of hustle, some help, and a bit of luck, Ryan and David broke ground at 518 Pershing Road, the eventual home of Neuse River Brewing Co., on July 1st, 2014.

    We were lucky enough to see this piece of property transform from a relic of a building into one of the coolest brewery / taprooms in Raleigh. It was truly a family effort. Ryan's wife Jennifer, who is also NRBC's Director of Sales & Marketing, was instrumental in the overall design of the taproom. David, Ryan, and his stepfather, Bob, built literally everything from the 30-foot concrete slab bar, to the 15+ picnic style and high top tables around the room. The real centerpiece is the industrial size fan that looks like it belongs in an airplane hanger. Even in the middle of the summer with no air conditioning, it’s still the coolest spot in town. The taproom shares an indoor and outdoor area separated by two large garage doors. On most days, you can find one of the Triangle’s many amazing food trucks, parked outside. NRBC is kid-friendly, and even has a kiddy table with toys and books.

    Neuse River Brewing Co. officially opened on July 31st, 2015. Right now, they offer three beers on tap; a 9% Neusiok Imperial Saison, a 7.8% Caleb’s High Noon Imperial IPA, and a 10.5% Affluent Tripel. “The Neusiok had a running start as soon as it was sampled. Everyone wanted it. So for the open, we focused on adding some other beers to give people something they weren’t expecting”, said David. The high gravity beers on tap are delicious. “Sometimes a high gravity beer is really nice because you can take your time with it and really enjoy the beer, your friends, and your surroundings.” However, don’t expect only high gravity beer at NRBC. “Soon, we’ll be a little more well balanced than how we came out of the gate. We wanted to come out with a bang, but you can expect many more exceptional beers at the 4.5 to 5% level.” With 10 open taps, and seven new beers on deck, expect that sooner than later. “We’re really excited about our next release, the Riverkeeper’s Wit”, said David. This special 4.8% Belgian style wheat beer will be a cornerstone of NRBC and go far beyond the stomachs of those who drink it. For every beer sold, 5% of the revenue will be donated to the Neuse Riverkeeper Foundation, which restores and preserves the Neuse River basin through education, advocacy, and enforcement. “We grew up stomping and playing on the Neuse River. It’s been a huge part of both of our lives. Because of that, it’s really important for us to give back.” Ryan and David’s hope is that eventually, others carrying the beer will contribute to the conservation by matching or adding to the donations.

    Ryan and David believe their focus on authenticity will help distinguish them from the rest. In addition to a strict yeast management program, which they said was the real worker bee in all their beers, Ryan stressed the importance of the water profile being unique for each beer they make. “Our goal is to mimic the origin of where these beers really come from. We take a lot of pride in that. For example, when we make a Saison, we work hard to make sure our water profile is the same as Wallonia, Belgium. Water chemistry changes the whole flavor profile of the beer.” Ryan and David have put the entirety of themselves into NRBC and it shows. “There’s a lot of pride that goes into your work. When you’re a small business owner, every inch of what you accomplished has a meaning within your life. Every time I see a piece of wood that I cut, I remember that day, and what we were working towards.” Very soon, you’ll start seeing a lot more of these guys around town. “We’re about 60 days away from distribution. We want to make sure that we don’t run out of beer for our customers! Look out for NRBC on tap at World of Beer and Bottle Revolution (Lake Boone Trail location) in the coming months. In 2016, NRBC will begin bottling and distributing to local bottle shops and bars. “We’re excited for the future, and look forward to creating something that people really enjoy.”

     

    Ryan’s favorite Beer: Consecration – Russian River Brewing Company

    David’s favorite Beer: Avec Les Bons Voeux - Brasserie Dupont sprl

     

    Learn more about NRBC, and some of Ryan and David’s favorite small businesses in the area below:

    Thanks for stopping by the porch,

    Porch Fly Clothing

    RALEIGH HUSTLES HARD - TROLLEY PUB

    Kai Kaapro, owner of Trolley Pub, first had the idea for a pedal powered party machine in 2010 after seeing a similar vehicle while traveling in Amsterdam. At the time, an eco-friendly, pub-crawling trolley was a novelty. After returning to the states, Kai contacted his old fraternity brother, and soon to be business partner with a great new idea. Fast-forward to 2015, Trolley Pub operates pedal powered booze cruises in five locations across the country. We sat down recently with Kai for our latest installment of Raleigh Hustles Hard to learn more about how Raleigh’s favorite mobile party came to be.

    Kai, who was attending law school at the time, said he never had an entrepreneurial spirit. “This wasn’t planned. I never expected to be anything but an attorney. We really just wanted to build the first one out of curiosity. We thought it was a really cool idea and wanted to see what would happen.” After painstaking research, they finally found a manufacturer in Bend, Oregon willing and able to build the first Trolley Pub prototype.

    In 2011, Kai and his business partner founded Trolley Pub, LLC and opened the first location in Tucson, AZ. “I tried to run it while I was still in law school in Pennsylvania. It didn’t work out very well, if you can imagine. Eventually, a large streetcar project caused the Tucson location to lose viability. “Luckily, I had a good friend in Jeff Murison, the president of the Hillsborough Street Association in Raleigh. I was discussing my situation with him at a conference and he immediately suggested Raleigh as a perfect location.” Trolley Pub Raleigh opened in the spring of 2012. “The environment in Raleigh is perfect. After visiting, I quit every obligation I had and moved out here. I met my wife the first week I was here, on the Trolley Pub! Raleigh has been so good to me.”

    It was hard for us to categorize Trolley Pub. Is it a transportation service, a downtown Raleigh tour operator, a mobile bar? Technically, it’s all of the above, but Kai assures me it’s much simpler than that. “People are renting it out for a fun group experience, while getting to know the area better better. At the end of the day, Trolley Pub is just entertainment.”

    While it’s all entertainment for the customers, owning Trolley Pub is not easy. There is a lot of moving parts and liability when it comes to operating a mobile BYOB bar for 14 people. However, Kai admits that the biggest challenges were the legal hurdles when launching. “Between both the city and state regulations, licenses for motor carriers, alcohol licenses and laws, the hardest part was being granted the right to legally operate.” He says he was a bit naïve in the beginning, which helped him to jump right in. “I had never been out of college in the real world so I was very over confident thinking this would be easy.” There have been numerous obstacles unique to each location, but Raleigh was an outlier in terms of the launch process. “In 2012, Raleigh basically just said OK. They wanted to work with us from the beginning and we’ve still never really had an issue with this city.” Unfortunately, that’s not been the case elsewhere for Trolley Pub. Opening in Arlington, VA was much more difficult given its proximity to Washington, DC. “We had to take our case up to the state level, and eventually try to have a bill passed for our business to operate.” Even with all the regulatory hurdles, Trolley Pub Arlington opened in 2013. In 2014, the Madison (WI) and Houston (TX) locations were born. Most recently, Trolley Pub opened a location in Charlotte and has plans to expand into the Virgin Islands in November. Kai has a vision for further expansion, focusing on emerging markets like Wilmington (NC) and Detroit.

    On a more local level, Kai’s vision for Trolley Pub Raleigh is focused on transforming the warehouse at 323 W Davie Street, which is currently the trolley take-off point, into a hang out spot. “We’re still in the preliminary planning stage, but our ultimate goal is to build out a gift shop / bottle shop in the front of the store selling local merchandise and have a sandwich bar style restaurant in the back connecting to a rooftop bar.”

    Even with all the positive forward motion, Trolley Pub has had its fair share of detractors. Some downtown Raleigh residents have called it loud and obnoxious, while others have had issue with the vehicles slowing down traffic. Kai tells me, even though he was a bit thin skinned at first, it was important to him to be attentive to feedback and open to criticism while maintaining his vision and goals for the customer experience. “It hurt my feelings at first because I’ve thrown everything into this but ultimately it’s more important to me to be a good neighbor to the folks who live and work downtown. If someone has an issue, we try our best to be extremely responsive. If someone doesn’t want us near his or her house, we’ll change the route. We’ve even changed hours of operation to be more accommodating, late night. We’ve also spent a lot of time training our staff to be responsive and enforce the rules strictly."

    Although Kai had no plans to be a small business owner, he finds that this lifestyle suits him better than he expected. “Once I dipped my toes in, I enjoyed being a business owner so much that I stuck with it. My favorite part is finding ways to please the customer and making sure they are happy with the money they’ve spent. Selfishly, I love the time management, control, and creative freedom it allows me, but more importantly I love seeing people walk away happy.”

    Learn more about Trolley Pub and some of Kai’s favorite small businesses in the area below:

    Thanks for stopping by the porch,

    Porch Fly Clothing

    RALEIGH HUSTLES HARD - ARROW / PEDRO WILLIAMS

    When I first moved back to Raleigh in the summer of 2013, finding a good haircut was a bit of a nightmare. The salons felt pretentious, impersonal, overpriced, or seriously lacking in quality. That fall, I came across a new store in Cameron Village with “Arrow” written across the window. I took to the Internet to see what it was all about and was thrilled to find out that someone was opening a barbershop with an old school feel. That’s how I initially met owner and local entrepreneur, Pete Phipps.

    Arrow’s first location opened in December 2013. I was there a day later. When I walked in, Pete, who at the time manned the counter, greeted me with “How’s it going? Want a beer?” Good start. There were vintage Sports Illustrated cut outs lining the walls, amazing products for sale like Harry’s Razors, Happy Socks, Lumina Clothing, among others. The shop wasn’t a machine. It was intimate. A small bar in the front flanks the four barbers with a long mirror, and a bench lining the wall behind them. Clean, simple, inviting, and it's affordable. For $15 (+ tip), I walked out with my first good haircut since moving back home. I sat down for a hot shave on my next visit. Two years later, I’ve never walked out disappointed. That seems to be the general consensus, because Pete now employees twenty stylists at three locations. In July 2014, Pete opened a second Arrow location on 115 E. Hargett Street in downtown Raleigh (look for the fluorescent red arrow that says “CUTS”) and in May of this year, opened his third location, Pedro Williams at 624 9th St., in Durham (curious about the name? watch the video on their website).

    As one of our favorite small business owners in the Triangle, we were thrilled to sit down with Pete and learn more about his story for the third installment of Raleigh Hustles Hard. After graduating from West Point Academy and serving five years active duty in the US Army, Pete moved to Raleigh in 2010. Before opening Arrow, Pete spent a couple of years as a Project Manager in Cary. He said, “I always knew I wanted to do something entrepreneurial or small business related, and this allows for a fun, community based environment where we get to continuously meet new people.” As a kid, he valued the special experience of going with his dad to get a haircut at the barbershop. “Our aim is to bring it back to the old school, where you enjoy the bonding experience of getting a haircut instead of viewing it as an errand.” With Pete, everything comes back to people and building relationships. He’s quick to tell you that customer service is his primary focus and takes precedence over everything else. “When it’s all said and done, the way we treat people will make or break our business.” Like a true veteran and leader, he understands that people are also his greatest resource. “My goal is finding the right people and stressing the importance of customer service over anything else. The way you treat people is more important than anything you’ll do during the entire experience.”

    Pete tells me his favorite part of being a small business owner is creating a unique, fun, and financially beneficial place for people to work. Giving people a breath of fresh air and a new start to their careers. Alternatively, his biggest challenge to keep himself and his team motivated, inspired, and ready to perform. “We’re on all the time. In this industry, everything is visible, so we’re not afforded the luxury of having a bad day. And when we do, we have to remember that it's never about us, it’s about the customer and their experience.”

    Since moving to Raleigh half a decade ago, Pete has seen it evolve into a thriving city. He believes the constant growth has created a perfect environment for startups and small businesses. “When you start a small business anywhere, you’re going to be nervous, but when you look around Raleigh and see new restaurants, breweries, concert venues, museums, and apartment complexes popping up weekly, as a small business owner, that’s a huge relief. And we’re seeing the same thing in Durham, so that was a natural extension.” There are no immediate plans for further expansion, but rather to focus on the existing locations and keeping them consistent across the board.

    Given the chance to do it all over again, Pete wouldn’t change a thing but says his biggest lesson learned as a small business owner, is to treat interviewing and hiring as a top priority. He says they’ve been fortunate to hire a lot of great people, which has and will continue to be a huge factor in Arrow’s success.

    Go visit any of the locations in Raleigh or Durham, meet the team, and walk out with shorter hair. Guaranteed.

    Learn more about Arrow & Pedro Williams as well as a few of Pete’s favorite small businesses in the area below:

     

    Thanks for stopping by the porch,

    Porch Fly Clothing