The Brewlog: Regulator Brewing Company Blog

News, etc. from Regulator Brewing Company. Updated sporadically.

Posts marked ‘NC Agriculture’

This weekend: Eastern Triangle Farm Tour

Are you 21?

The Regulator crew is taking a (short) road trip this weekend! We’ll be helping the beautiful Blue Whistler Farm in Rougemont celebrate their first year on the Eastern Triangle Farm Tour: selling pints, and tussling with chickens.

If you’ve never been on one of Carolina Farm Stewardship Association‘s farm tours, you’re in for a treat: every year CFSA organizes area farms into two weekends of visitation days–one in the spring, and one in the fall.  It’s an opportunity to get acquainted with the rich and varied agricultural efforts in your neighborhood–check out the map of participating farms ahead of time and plan your route, or see where the wind takes you.  Either way, it’s a lovely way to spend a weekend day, and proceeds from tickets (one ticket required per carload–bring your friends!) go to support CFSA’s work advocating for policies that help farms thrive.

Amy and Josh at Blue Whistler have worked hard to build a bustling farm in a short amount of time. In addition to locally-sourced beer brewed by yours truly, you’ll be able to pick up handmade local dairy products, eggs and bakery items while you visit with rabbits, pigs, turkeys, and some beer-loving chickens.  See the writeup here for more information. Hope to see you there!

What’s Making Us Happy to Brew in NC, Part 2: Local Maltsters using Local Grain grown by Local Farmers

In part two of our NC Beer Month series, we’re taking you back to the beginning of the beginning – where the grain in our beer comes from and how it gets to us.  Since we use at least 75% local ingredients in each batch of our beer, this is really important to us.  Did you know that we also tell which what’s in each batch? For us a big part of “local” means “transparent” – so you know exactly what you’re drinking.

Here’s our bold, 100% true claim: Neither our brewery nor locally-sourced-NC-grown Beer from Here would be possible without folks like Brent Manning, Brian Simpson and their team at Riverbend Malthouse.

Brent and Brian started and run Riverbend in Asheville, and they work with and buy from grain farmers (our heroes!) within a 500-mile radius of the malthouse.  That includes a growing network of farmers in NC, VA, and KY (pun and double entendre intended).  This regional variety is crucial to make sure things like the weather/pests/plant disease don’t ruin an entire year’s crop.  We are, after all, making an agricultural product derived from agricultural products.  Getting that cold pint into your hot little hands depends on A LOT of things beyond human control going right.  We’re pretty sure that makes beer a miracle.

Back to Riverbend! Last fall, Brent was kind enough to give us a tour of their new and bigger facility, explain their floor malting process, and tell us more about how Riverbend is connecting farmers and brewers – or using the food systems lingo, closing the supply-side infrastructure gap to make Beer from Here possible.  You can also tour Riverbend – they think transparency is cool, too!

They can certainly tell their story better than we can, so we’d really encourage you to check out their website and blog.  Full disclosure: Their pictures are way better than ours, but here’s a few we took on our visit!

Stay tuned for next week’s installment of “what’s making us happy to brew beer in North Carolina,” and don’t forget to drink a North Carolina beer in honor of #NCBeerMonth! To find Regulator on tap in Hillsborough, keep an eye on where to find us, or catch up with us on facebook or twitter.

What’s Making Us Happy to Brew in NC, Part 1: Happy Cows

You may have heard: April is North Carolina Beer Month! In honor of NC Beer Month, and inspired by Pop Culture Happy Hour‘s segment, “what’s making us happy this week,” we’re doing a series here on the brewlog: “what’s making us happy to brew beer in North Carolina.”

For part one, we’re starting at the end of the brew day. Depending on the beer, each brew produces a tub or two of “spent grain:” crushed malt that’s been soaked in high-temp water to extract flavor, starches, and the sugars that make for good fermentation.  “Spent” is kind of a misnomer, though, because the brewing process leaves behind a lot of good stuff: spent grain is particularly high in protein and fiber, not to mention particularly tasty to cows.

Regulator’s spent grain doesn’t go to waste: Kim and Chad Woods of Spring Crest Farm (just up the road in Hurdle Mills) take it off our hands and put it to good use. In addition to being wonderful people, they’re a part of Firsthand Foods‘ network of conscientious local livestock farmers. Our contribution is small, but we’re proud to support this humane, sustainable North Carolina food system in any way. (To read more about Kim and Chad, visit their page on Firsthand Foods’ site.)

That’s a lot to be happy about, but if you’re not convinced, take a look at this:


Photo thanks to Kim Woods.

Stay tuned for next week’s installment of “what’s making us happy to brew beer in North Carolina,” and don’t forget to drink a North Carolina beer in honor of #NCBeerMonth! To find Regulator on tap in Hillsborough, keep an eye on where to find us, or catch up with us on facebook or twitter.

On “Locally Sourced:” an explanation of our 75% promise.

First and foremost among Regulator Brewing Company’s values is our commitment regarding local ingredients: we’ve promised that we’ll buy at least 75% of the ingredients of each batch from local farms. This investment (even if, like us, it’s relatively small) keeps us in lockstep with our local economy and we couldn’t be happier about that. We’ve been asked some questions about what that means, so here goes:

The Good:

We are incredibly lucky to be located in central North Carolina. Not only does North Carolina farm over 400,000 acres of wheat a year, we’re home to two malt houses (soon to be three!). Research and services at NC State and Appalachian State, combined with NC farmers willing to experiment, are developing hops and small grain varieties that are hardier to our climate. Farm and food businesses in NC are supported by a growing number of initiatives to increase supply and improve access to local products: ECO, based in Durham, Pittsboro’s Carolina Farm Stewardship Association, and Farmer Foodshare in Chapel Hill, to name a few.

…the Confusing:

We define “local” as “within state borders,” with the odd addition from nearby South Carolina or Virginia. The closer to our brewhouse, though, the better. It’s been educational for us to learn how others define local: sometimes it’s shipped in from somewhere else and processed or packaged locally. Other times a blended product may be labeled “local” with only a small percentage of actual local ingredients. In short, there’s not one definition.  We’re doing our best to find the most transparently-local products we can, and in turn, our labels don’t promise anything more than we can deliver: “at least 75% local.” Check out our beer list: you’ll find an ingredient list for each batch on each beer’s description page.

… the Challenging:

If it were up to us, every batch would be 100% locally sourced. You may have noticed the brewery business in North Carolina is growing (whaaat?), and fortunately, so is interest in local food and drink! Securing the local ingredients we need for our recipes before they’re gone for the season hasn’t been easy–especially when supply is also subject to weather, pests, and diseases. We may be small, but we still need 3,000 pounds of grain a year and we can’t command the kind of contracts the big guys can.  In response, we’ve taken a strategic approach: we’re optimizing our recipes to minimize the effect of one ingredient’s availability on the end result.

The Takeaway

Rest assured that Regulator beer is as truly local as we can make it, with an eye toward keeping the beers you love consistent.  We’ll keep our supply chain open to you at all times. All we ask? Keep drinking local beer! The more interest there is in local food and beverage, the faster our agricultural supply chain can grow.

Like hearing about the nuts and bolts of the local food economy? This is just the beginning: as a regular feature here on the BrewLog we’re going to highlight a local agribusiness. Stay tuned!

Hops Harvest at Farm Boy Farms

In early August, the Regulator crew went out to Farm Boy Farms in Pittsboro to help with their hops harvest. We harvested Cascade, Centennial, Chinook and Nugget.



Got to be NC!

Regulator is proud to be one of the latest members of Got to be NC, a program run by the NC Department of Agriculture.  We join ranks with almost 3,000 other members in the state, which means you can look for this logo on our labels!

products (long)

It is part of our mission to produce locally sourced – not just locally bottled – beer.  For us that means we commit to buying at least 75 percent of the ingredients in each batch of beer from local farmers and maltsters.  We are excited to provide you with Beer from Here. Each time you crack one open, you support North Carolina farmers with us!

Want to know more about how Regulator does business?  Check out our mission, vision and values here.

Regulator Gives Back

We’ve been overwhelmed by everybody’s enthusiasm for us and our beer here at Regulator Brewing Company.  Given the season and our company’s commitment to re-investing in our community, we are thrilled to highlight three local non-profits that we are supporting as part of Giving Tuesday.

All play a role in strengthening the local food system, ensuring that farmers can make a living and building our food community.

Abundance Logo

Abundance NC brings people together to cultivate and celebrate community resilience in the Piedmont of North Carolina. They also host the Pittsboro Pepper Festival, an event we love to attend!  Learn more:

Farmer Foodshare

Farmer Foodshare connects people who grow food with people who need food. They strive to make fresh, local food available to everyone in the community, and to make sure farmers growing it make a healthy living.  Learn more:


The Rural Advancement Foundation International cultivates markets, policies and communities that support thriving, socially just, and environmentally sound family farms.  Learn more:


We’d also be remiss not to mention that we’re proud members of the Carolina Farm Stewardship Association, a non-profit that helps people in the Carolinas grow and eat local and organic food.

Proud Member

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Hillsborough, North Carolina
(919) 589-BREW