The Great NC Beer Map will be a guide for visiting craft breweries around the state — a one-stop guide with everything you will need to know before arriving. Our style combines the convenience of a map with the depth of a guidebook, which means this will be the most comprehensive guide on NC craft breweries to be found. The printed road map will function much like our previous release, The Great NC BBQ Map — using an infographic approach to condense a lot of information about each brewery into symbols and icons. Our goal is to take layers of dense, complex information and find new systems for arranging it, so it becomes intuitive and easy to understand.
Beyond listing and mapping out over 160 craft breweries in the state, we’re providing all the practical information for getting you there, so you don’t have to busy yourself checking websites or placing phone calls. We’re also giving you info to help you find the exact brewery experience you’re looking for, whether that means special release days, brewery tours, food trucks, brewery games, or a place that welcomes your pup. And if 160+ breweries aren’t enough to leave you tapped out, we’re also mapping out all the major beer festivals in the state — 43 to be exact.
The margins and back panels of the map will include graphics and text on the art and science of craft brewing, to give you a greater understanding of what’s inside the glass. This will be a tool for decoding all those beer styles and stats listed on the brewery wall, but it’ll also help you zero in on new brews that will appeal to your palette. We consider these educational elements to be one of the major hallmarks of our maps — something that gives heart and soul to the finished piece and perspective to your travels.
The map will resemble any other road map that you’ve used: a typical 4″ x 9″ size when folded, perfect for keeping in your glove box or throwing in your bag for a weekend trip. Use the map for tracking down new breweries, finding a place to wet your whistle when you’re in a new town, or putting together your own brewery tour. It’s also a wonderful way to keep track of all the breweries you’ve visited, by marking each symbol once you’ve been.
Why We Think the World Needs a NC Beer Map
The brewery scene in NC has really exploded over the last several years, which is really wonderful for craft beer lovers both within our state and those traveling through. Yet with so many to choose from, it’s hard to plan a brewery trip or tour or zero in on which establishments you want to visit. To plan our own trips in the past, we’ve spent countless hours researching online, making phone calls to breweries, and mapping out stops. We’ve always wanted one resource that would have it all and eliminate all that time-consuming leg work.
There are a lot of specific questions we’ve always had when traveling that we answered with this map, and as we talked to others, we discovered more questions outside our own lifestyle that had been going unanswered. We really thought about the user and specific scenarios, and then we designed the map to work through those problems. Here’s an example:
Problem: Walter and Irene are stopping in Asheville on their way further west. They would love to have an entire weekend to explore this great beer town, but they only have 5-9 PM on a Saturday and know they can only get to a few breweries. They are traveling with their dog, Otis, and their 7 year-old daughter, Dotty. For their first stop, they need to find a brewery that also serves dinner. All stops need to welcome both Otis and Dotty, but since the last stop will be later, they know some breweries may be 21 and over after a certain time. Walter and Irene would like to try some beers they couldn’t normally find bottled back home or that they won’t come across again on their trip. How will they determine which breweries fit all these needs?
Solution: The Great NC Beer Map! Walter and Irene can use the map to zero in on all the breweries in Asheville that serve food, allow dogs, and for their later stop, they’ll be aware of any breweries that only allow ages 21 and up after certain hours. And maybe they’d even like to hit a brewery with games to stretch their legs more and keep Dotty entertained. To maximize their time, they can find breweries near one another, perhaps even within walking distance. They can also use the map to spend their limited time in breweries that do not distribute to get the most unique experience. By still taking note of the breweries that do distribute, they can pick up those beers at the local bottle shop on their way out of town to try later, stretching their Asheville brewery experience even further. And they’ll also be able to use the map to find breweries further along their drive throughout the weekend.
We’re working again with Raleigh-based design duo Good South. They’ve already designed our amazing map logo, which is just a tiny preview of what’s to come. We worked previously with them on The Great NC BBQ Map and couldn’t have been happier with the brilliant work they turned out. In fact, the map got a shout-out in Paste Magazine’s design section, as well as hundreds of compliments from our happy customers. Good-South is also known for their label design for Slingshot Coffee Company’s Cold Brew bottles, featured on Buzzfeed’s 34 Coolest Food Packaging Designs of 2012. And most recently, one of their prints was featured in Country Living magazine. Clearly, these two know their stuff, and we’re over the moon to be working again with this talented pair.
Map-printing extraordinaire, Meredith-Webb, has been an innovator in its industry for over 50 years. They’ve already printed two runs of our BBQ map, and we’re happy we’ll be able to send The Great NC Beer Map their way. We were invited to take a tour of the facility in Burlington during the printing of our last map, and you can learn more about their lithographic printing process in our blog post. We are very happy to have such a knowledgeable, capable printer in our own home state who can be part of another North Carolina map.
Why We’re Returning to Kickstarter
Our Kickstarter campaign for The Great NC BBQ Map was one of the most rewarding experiences of the entire project because of the community it created, and we’re really excited about being part of that again. We love the sense of ownership that Kickstarter gives to our backers, as a group of people come together over an idea they believe in, to support it, spread the word, and literally will it into existence. Through that process, the project begins to belong to everyone, and we don’t think that can happen anywhere else besides Kickstarter. We are thrilled we get to go through that again and bring our new idea to this community!
We’ve already spent the last half-year researching and laying out the map, so all the groundwork is done! Now we just need to pass off the work to the designers and then the printers, which are by far, the two most costly components of the project. Our map business launched with our last project just over a year ago, and getting this second map on the market will help us grow and stabilize as a company. Kickstarter is a way for people to preorder our new map so we’ll have that money to fund the production upfront, without our new company taking such a big financial hit.
Kickstarter is also a way to offer really unique, once-in-a-lifetime experiences as a thank you for supporting and believing in our project. You have the opportunity to get behind-the-scenes at some of the breweries around our state to have personalized, exclusive experiences. And you even have the opportunity to come over to our place for a hands-on homebrewing day and chat it up with us about map-making! We think these things make Kickstarter a wonderful opportunity for all of us!
How It Works
We know that many of you are new to Kickstarter, so thank you all for making it here to take a look around. Basically, through this page you can help to launch our project by pledging money and get a pretty cool reward for doing so. Just browse the levels to the right and see what you’re interested in.
We only get the funds pledged through Kickstarter if we meet our $7,500 goal (and your card gets charged only if we do). That gives us both a peace of mind – us, that we’ll have enough money in hand to get going; you, that once your card is charged, the project will happen and you’ll get your reward.
As the Kickstarter campaign progresses and after it concludes, we will keep you up-to-date on the progress of the project. If you’d like to get even more behind-the-scenes on this map and our other adventures, follow along through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and our website. We’d love to hear from you!
The Stretch Goal
We will be grateful for every dollar you pledge to help us meet our $7,500 goal! This will cover our two biggest costs for producing the map – design fees and printing. Going past $7,500 would help us with the other costs, such as copyrighting fees, publicity/marketing costs, and the cost of creating the other items associated with rewards. We’d also love to be able to create an extended line of themed products and goodies available to you via our website.
We learned a lot during the creation of our last map and, already, the work has gone much smoother. We’re also more aware of what bumps there may be along the way and how to plan for those.
Last time, we had to scale up the map several times because we uncovered almost double the barbecue restaurants we thought we would. This meant we had to scale up on paper size (twice), and it also took about twice the time to get all those points plotted and laid out by the designers. This happened post-Kickstarter and it put us quite a bit over budget on money and time. But we still got the project produced; the map turned out beautifully and has done amazingly since its release; and we learned about a gazillion lessons!
This time we’ve put in all the work before having ever launched our campaign, so we have a much more accurate picture of the cost and time associated with what’s left – the design and printing. As with any project, there will be challenges, but with the last map and a year of work under our belts, we are better equipped to deal with them.