I sat down with co-owner of Sycamore Brewing, Sarah Brigham, to discuss Sycamore’s first three years and what’s ahead for the brewery. Sarah and her husband, Justin, own and operate Sycamore’s taproom location in South End and the brewery’s 31,000-square-foot production facility and cannery in North End.
Sycamore was just awarded two bronze medals at The Great American Beer Festival this past Saturday for Sun Grown Lager, and this coming Saturday they celebrate their three-year anniversary at their South End taproom location.
How are you feeling ahead of your three-year anniversary this weekend?
“Justin and I had no idea what we were getting ourselves into six years ago when we decided to turn our love for craft beer into our lives and livelihood. Like all entrepreneurs, I’ve had highlights and disappointments, but as I look ahead into our fourth year of business, I’m so fired up for Sycamore’s next chapter!”
How is Sycamore different than it was when you first opened?
“The launch of our cans this summer on grocery store shelves across Charlotte marked a turning point for Sycamore. Our production facility is up and running, and Sycamore’s product has never been better. Our third Great American Beer Festival medal for our lager recipe cemented the fact that we are making exceptional beer, and I am endlessly proud to say that we make the best American lager in the Southeast.
“In three years, we’ve grown and necessarily evolved as a company. We’re not just a trendy spot to hang out on the weekends. The quality of the beers that we’re brewing is world class. Our team has also grown. We have 48 dedicated employees working diligently to ensure the highest quality beer reaches your glass.”
What excites you most about the future of craft beer and Sycamore?
“As competitive as the industry is, and as break-neck as our growth has been, I’m actually having more fun than ever. On the back of our third GABF medal for Sun Grown Lager, I’m excited to see the future for that brand but my passion has always been IPAs. The new world of IPAs is blowing my mind.
“I love asking folks, ‘When is the last time you’ve had a Sycamore IPA?’ The innovative, new brewing techniques we’ve adopted have taken things to the next level. Recipes and techniques have been modified to get the freshest, fruitiest, most dank flavor-components out of our hops.”
You recently launched your four core products in grocery stores. Do you have any other releases on the horizon?
“In addition to our four core products (Southern Girl Blonde, Countryside IPA, Sun Grown Lager and High Tide Wheat), we also released Mountain Candy IPA in cans, which will be a year-round offering. In a few short weeks, we will begin our series of hyper-limited can releases, where we will focus primarily on juicy and hazy IPAs.”
What lessons have you learned?
“One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned over the past three years is that you can’t let the naysayers keep you down or take your focus away from your passion. If you believe in what you are doing, and if you believe in your team, the accolades will come, the medals will come, the success will come – and the doubters become less meaningful by the day.”
Interview by Rachel Brown. Rachel is a Charlotte lifestyle blogger and online influencer @queencitychic.
Photos: Courtesy of Sycamore Brewing