Other green initiatives include partnering with local farmers to use spent grain and peanut shells as supplemental feed for livestock, an onsite nitrogen generator to reduce CO2, LED lighting, and a tracking system to monitor and reduce water consumption. As a Bicycle Benefits business, the brewery also rewards customers who choose to ride a bicycle to the brewery. But it’s really about the beer: Birdsong produces five core beers. “The Jalapeño Pale Ale is the most unique of the five. It has a cult following. We had been to a beer festival where one brewery brought a pale ale and they were pushing it through an inline water filter that they had filled with cut up peppers - really hot peppers. The aroma was really great, the flavor was good, but it was so spicy that you couldn’t really drink more than a couple sips,” said Tara. The brewery decided to try something similar, removing most of the seeds to create the aroma and flavor without the heat. “We didn’t have it available every day because it was a pain to set up the inline filter and cut up the peppers every day,” said Tara. However, the ale’s popularity grew so quickly the brewery figured out how to produce it on a larger scale. The brewery’s Higher Ground IPA, a West Coast style IPA named after the song by Stevie Wonder, is their number one seller. “That recipe just does not lend itself to being in a can, so we keep it draft only. It’s a heavily dry-hopped West coast style IPA. We get a lot of social media hits when we have a flood warning in Charlotte and we tell people to seek Higher Ground,” according to Chris. The Lazy Bird Brown Ale is Tara’s go to beer. Tara goes on to say, “It has lots of good roasted character from the malt, but without being too heavy. It’s light to medium bodied and doesn’t have a lingering sweetness.” Paradise City Session IPA was the next to be added to the year-round lineup. Tara adds, “We wanted to have an IPA that we could put in a can. It’s a 4.8% IPA and it’s a little more of the grassy,

dank quality for the hops. We add oats to the mash which adds body, so the mouthfeel is more like a regular IPA.”

The Goulets didn’t set out to become Charlotte’s first solar powered brewery, although they had contemplated implementing a solar array even while leasing space in 2012. After moving to the new facility, an opportunity arose to make it happen. Chris goes on to say, “We had the good fortune of releasing a beer that did incredibly well and sold more than double our expectations for that partic- ular brand.” The brewery used the windfall to pay for a solar installation and, in 2018, installed a 75 kilowatt array on the roof of the brewery. “We’ve always tried, from the very beginning, to reduce our footprint and be as sustainable as possible, even as basic as cardboard recycling which we’ve done from day one. On a sunny day in Charlotte, the panels power the entire brewery and during the middle of the day we’re actually net metering back to the grid. So, we power everything we use, and we get paid. It’s also a handy marketing tool, which is nice,” said Chris. “As a mid-size distributing brewery, we consume a large amount of power for HVAC, walk-in coolers, glycol chillers, air compressors, etc. Our goal was to cut our power bill by 40%. So far, we’ve been suc- cessful. On top of that we’ve reduced carbon emissions substantially. It’s the equivalent of planting over 7,000 trees, project to date.”





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