MAKING THE WORLD A BETTER, FRESHER-BEER-DRINKING PLACE
In 2007, Charlotte was one of the last big cities in the country without its own brewery. Breweries had come and gone over the years, but none had been able to overthrow the tyrannical reign of the King of Beers. However, as Charlotte continued to grow, new residents from around the States and Europe started to change Charlotte’s beer culture. One of those transplants was OMB’s eventual founder, John Marrino, who came from Boston.
Prior to arriving in Charlotte, John spent 16 years working for a German-based advanced water treatment equipment manufacturer, and that experience included living in Germany for four years. As you’d imagine, John sampled his fair share of German beers during his stay, and saw the inside of more than one or two (let’s call it “several”) German Bierhalls. Those four years of authentic, hands-on “research,” combined with his water treatment expertise (which would help him make the transition to brewing beer down the road) made John uniquely qualified to open his own German-style brewery in Charlotte. He just didn’t know it yet.
Shortly after relocating his family to Charlotte in 2002, John became disillusioned with big corporate life and decided to move on. Having no plan B and some time on his hands, he rented an RV and embarked on a soul-searching three-month tour of North America with his wife and young daughter. Two months later, on a cool summer’s night in Montana, he read an article about a man rebuilding the almost defunct Narragansett beer brand in New England. As he read, the proverbial “lightbulb” went on. He realized Charlotte didn’t have a brewery. He thought about how much he missed the fantastic, fresh beer he drank in Düsseldorf, Herford and Munich. His conclusion? Return to Charlotte and open a brewery that specialized in world-class, fresh, German-style beer. He was convinced that if the people of Charlotte could taste the difference between an authentic German-style beer served fresh, versus the old, skunky German stuff you can buy in the grocery stores, or the bland, flavorless American light lagers, they would be converted.
In March 2009, The Olde Mecklenburg Brewery opened its doors, at the time Charlotte’s only local brewery. Charlotteans embraced it with a bear hug (that was the authentic German beer talking) and OMB started to build a dedicated following that’s never really stopped growing. Today, in a new, larger space that features a spectacular eight-acre German-style Biergarten, a state-of-the-art 60-barrel Brewery (largest locally owned craft brewhouse in the state), and a dine-in Brauhaus Charlotte’s oldest brewery continues to grow while staying committed to fresh, local beer. And also offers the best brewery tour in America according to USA Today readers. As John Marrino says, “Not everything can be local, but beer can and should be.” OMB looks forward to providing Charlotte with good times and its freshest beer for many years to come.