Today’s breweries come in all shapes and sizes. Different tap lineups and business models. Each has a unique ethos and purpose told through individual stories and names.
Somewhere amongst all this, there is Free Range Brewing, a business based on the ideas of agriculture and locality situated in one of the largest cities in the United States. Just a couple miles from the literal downtown marker of Charlotte, North Carolina, the almost-two-year-old brewery has found its niche with a constantly changing, eclectic lineup of farmed and foraged beers that includes Saisons with pine and juniper tips, IPA made with a 200-year old sourdough culture, and a rotating collection of Carolina Common—an in-state twist on the California Common.
Those kinds of beers may not be wholly unique in a country with more than 5,000 breweries, but they do stake a claim for a special niche in Charlotte, a city often overlooked for its beer because of its proximity to well-known Asheville, just a 90-minute drive away. The story of how brothers Jeff and Jason Alexander decided to get to this point in their personal and professional lives details how powerful the pull of good food and drink can be, especially as a way to bring together family, friends and, ultimately, drinkers.
With no professional experience, little training, and on something of a whim, Jason Alexander has transferred a once-budding appreciation for ideas of fresh and local into a tangible business plan. And he’s making a kind of beer-based, farmers-market mentality work amongst one of the fastest growing areas of Charlotte.