weeping radish beer
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The Weeping Radish

“We always have new things in the works,” says Uli Bennewitz, owner of the Weeping Radish Brewery. The oldest microbrewery in North Carolina, Weeping Radish opened in 1986 in Manteo and moved to Grandy in 2001.

In 2015 The Weeping Radish shifted its distribution model. It ended its distribution to the Raleigh, Charlottesville and Tidewater areas and now exclusively distributes its beer to local establishments

“We are serious about focusing our efforts only locally,” Bennewitz says. “Last year was our first year of local only and for that first year, we didn’t include any chain stores because we wanted to be sure we could handle the self-distribution.”

The brewery has 45 accounts on the Outer Banks and also distributes to local Food Lion stores. Soon they will also distribute to local Harris Teeter stores as well.

Bennewitz says staying local is certainly a good business model in more sophisticated markets, and the Outer Banks is getting there. “It’s the right thing to do and I do believe the movement is growing and we are seeing new models of cooperation,” he says, noting that Food Lion will soon be selling The Weeping Radish’s sausages.

“We’ve got a long way to go, but the fact that Food Lion recently approved our sausages to sell is mind boggling,” he says. “There’s a fundamental change going on.”

For less of an ecological footprint, The Weeping Radish has also switched from bottles to 16 oz. cans. It still offers 1-liter refillable bottles and 15.5-liter kegs and 5-liter mini party kegs filled fresh to order. Bennewitz says his is the only microbrewery in America that offers the 5-liter kegs.

“They have to be imported from Germany and are a very unique product,” he says. “We got them specifically for the beach environment.”

The brewery is also offering a shandy beer this summer through Brew Thru as part of a fundraising effort for the Outer Banks Hospital.

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