BY JEN OLENICZAK BROWN
“Craft Brewery” and “Women” often do not go hand in hand: a 2014 study by Auburn University found that in the 4,141 breweries (a number that’s increased to nearly 7,500), only 29% of the workforce are female. Lucky for us, our local award-winning craft-brewery plus coffee and event joint has a strong team of women guiding the leadership team – so much so that they are committed to evolving with the developing Winston-Salem community. In case you didn’t know, we’re talking about Foothills Brewing.
But which one, you might be asking? Maybe you’ve visited Foothills Brewpub, the staff monikered “mothership” on West Fourth or the 28-tap Tasting Room on Kimwell Drive or the newest addition with house-roasted coffee connected to Bookmarks, the aptly named Footnote. One thing is for certain: Foothills has the community in mind in all of their locations.
Sitting down with the women of Foothills I was delighted to be surrounded by not a few strong women – but seven! – a sure sign that Foothills is challenging that previously mentioned 29%. Aside from the craft brewery gender gap, Foothills is pulling ahead of the craft brewery boom in Winston by sticking to their roots and focusing on growing with their community.
“We were one of the very first restaurants that went downtown, before everyone else did. We did it because we wanted to help with the revitalization of downtown,” said Meredith Masten, Co-Owner and Comptroller. “We’ve always looked at it as a rising tide floats all boats. We wanted more businesses down there.”
This rising tide sentiment is woven throughout all of their work, at all of the locations. Pick a month and you’ll probably see an upcoming Hops and Shop event at the Tasting Room – fun shopping events that support local businesses and vendors, some that don’t have a brick and mortar to traditionally sell. Ask a local their opinion about the business and you’ll hear some aspect of what Foothills fan Erin Henderson Goliszek said: “They are always willing to help out. I’m a teacher, and my students worked all year in collaboration with graduate students at NC State to study the effects of single use plastics – and Foothills is letting us host a community event there. And their Craft Happiness Project IPA for June will benefit ocean conservancy efforts.” “We live in a community that supports us very strongly, so we try to give back in every way we can,” Masten said.
But this isn’t just a company giving back – this is a movement called “Craft Happiness,” a series of monthly-ish IPAs that since inception in January 2017, have donated over $14,000 to organizations that help with needs in the area, from homelessness to companion animals to the previously mentioned ocean conservancy. And these aren’t recycled or dated beers; Craft Happiness Project is constantly evolving. “We stay very current on the new hop trends and hybrid styles,” states Co-Owner and Chief Operating Officer, Sarah Bartholomaus.
Aside from their charitable efforts in the community, Foothills is invested in evolving with the residents and city, and sharing special life moments – all with a nurturing service heart. A collective favorite story: one of the first years they were open, a couple got married at Foothills. They opened a bit early, she walked down the staircase, and got married. Turns out, the couple had their first date at the pub – and celebrated a first anniversary, you guessed it, at the pub. Another story: the first wedding at the Footnote space celebrated their first anniversary on location, complete with the staff playing their first dance, and an impromptu second-first dance. “People come and grow with us,” Bartholomaus said.
The dedication to experience doesn’t stop at special events – this attention to detail and love threads from beer to moments to even food. Case in point: they make their own ketchup and mustard. Seriously.
Whether you’re looking for a fun night out with an eclectic crowd (with that homemade ketchup and amazing food), a coffee meeting, a taste of the newest Craft Happiness IPA or that place to celebrate your next life moment, the Foothills family has you – and the city of Winston-Salem – covered.
Find Foothills on Facebook & Instagram, or at your favorite off-line local spot: Downtown Brewpub, 638 West Fourth Street, 336.777.3348; Brewery & Tasting Room, 3800 Kimwell Drive 336.997.9484; Footnote, 634 West Fourth Street, 336.602.1087.