November 29, 2016
In 2011, Kate Middleton had just wed Prince William, President Obama was getting ready to go back on the campaign trail, and Charlotte had recovered from the recession with only one large brewery in the city. Chris Goulet had been in mortgage banking for years. Feeling burned out, Chris went looking for a side project when he began researching craft beer. After visiting breweries in Asheville and Pisgah, Chris and his wife, Tara, were inspired to create a low-key taproom where you could hang out with good friends, have enticing conversations and drink an excellent, fresh beer.
Chris and Tara Goulet aspired to be a neighborhood brewery producing unfiltered American- and Belgian-style beers. Charlotte was the perfect market: a large city with basically only one brewery and one brew pub in operation. Birdsong Brewing Company was born in the Queen City with only two full-time employees. The unique but drinkable beers that Birdsong brewed quickly caught on and the NoDa establishment grew faster than planned, they had to meet increasing demand. Five years later and Birdsong Brewing proudly displays a brand new taproom and more than two dozen employees.
Charlotte welcomed Birdsong Brewing onto the craft beer scene with open arms. Being a new brewery, Birdsong was occasionally uncertain about what to craft next or how to run a taproom, but Charlotte was ready and its people were open to new experiences and invariably returned for more. Chris and Tara were naturals at interacting with people and focusing on building great relationships with the neighborhood and out-of-town patrons, not losing sight of serving a product made from high-quality ingredients. The staff at Birdsong Brewing share the owners’ passion and mutual enthusiasm for the beer like the loyal customers. The goal at Birdsong has always been to build a friendly, knowledgeable staff and grow in a sensible way creating a casual atmosphere.
Chris now believes that Charlotte is reaching a phase in the brewing industry where growth will likely slow down. Numerous breweries have opened each year and the rapid expansion yielded some subpar businesses. Many entrepreneurs are attracted by what’s trendy rather than wanting to cultivate a passion for beer or share great beer recipes. Additionally, bar and restaurant owners can only devote so much space on their taps to local breweries as they also have to meet the space requirements demanded by large distributors to showcase their products. Charlotte has gotten to the point where a lot of local breweries are competing for a small percentage of the market. Chris suggests if you are trying to enter the craft beer market now consider taking a unique approach such as a culinary-focused taproom.
Birdsong Brewing has remained a leader in the Charlotte beer industry by brewing delicious, fresh beers every time they are served by a friendly and knowledgeable staff. With bold flavors, such as Jalapeño Pale Ale, they provide a unique and flavorful experience without ruining the taste of a great beer.
Since its founding, Birdsong intended to grow at a reasonable rate. Growing by 25% in 2016, they recently expanded into South Carolina and Western North Carolina. Next year, Birdsong Brewing looks to continue its steady growth and possibly expand geographically once business has been solidified in its new markets. Chris and Tara want to continue to establish community connections and to grow their staff personally and professionally. Over the past five years, Tara is overjoyed in watching her staff grow as they become a bigger part of a company they helped build. It’s like family, and everyone shares an excitement about their products and their mission. Chris, feels a sense of fulfillment when he is traveling to new areas and encounters people who express how much they love the beer. He is gratified when customers leave Birdsong appreciating what Tara and the team have created. They’ve even received requests for re-releases in cans to be shipped cross country to fans on the West Coast. Loyal customers are praised for spreading the word, and they value the patrons who show up multiple times each week to relax with a cold beer and enjoy a great environment.
Birdsong Brewing Company celebrates their 5 year Anniversary on Saturday, December 10. They have three bands lined up for the revelry, including Sinners & Saints (Chris and Tara are big fans). There will also be five special IPAs for each for the five years in business as well as reserved beers that were stashed away for this special event. You can expect a few barrel-aged beers to be on tap including two years of The Pride Abbey Ale, which is released for each year’s anniversary, and the red wine barrel-aged version, named Puppies on Penguins. There will be other beer surprises as well as a commemorative glass and a special anniversary hoodie.
To celebrate 2017, expect a party on New Year’s Day when a new bottle of Puppies on Penguins will be released, along with bloody beers featuring the Jalapeño ale and a complimentary bagel bar. In the future, keep an eye out for Birdsong Brewing’s annual spring event featuring a new beer release and the Little Sugar Creek clean up, where you can volunteer to join Birdsong in having some fun keeping the community clean.
Birdsong Brewing is located at 1016 North Davidson St. Charlotte, NC 28206.
Tap Room Hours:
Tues-Friday 3:00 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Saturday noon to 10 p.m.
Sundays from noon to 8 p.m.
Brewery Tours happen every Thursday at 6:30 p.m.
More about Birdsong Brewing Company.