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The Daily Tar Heel

CORRECTION: A previous version of this story incorrectly identified Ethan Butler as the creator of the app. Butler was a developer on a team working with Our State magazine. The story has been updated to reflect this. The Daily Tar Heel apologizes for the error.

Spend one Wednesday at He’s Not’s pint night, and you’ll see how people at UNC love their beer — Roy Cooper, UNC alum, recently declared April North Carolina Beer Month. School of Media and Journalism adjunct professor and UNC alum Ethan Butler took it to the next level, working with a team to develop an app dedicated to NC beer, aptly called BEER NC. 

Staff writer Karyn Hladik-Brown spoke to Butler about creating the app, the importance of beer in North Carolina and how he developed a love for the drink.

The Daily Tar Heel: How did the idea for this app come about, and how did you get involved?

Ethan Butler: The app itself is put out by Our State Magazine with a sponsorship from Great Outdoor Provision Co. What the team at Our State wanted to do was create a way for people to learn more about the growing craft beer scene in North Carolina. Especially in the past year, it’s really blown up to the point where even small towns have multiple breweries.

And so the app itself is just a way for people to learn what’s nearby and to get recommendations and to put their own voice out there.

DTH: Can you explain how the app works?

EB: So the app works by just using the geo-location services built into your phone, so your phone’s actual GPS. I don’t wanna, obviously, reveal any secrets or anything, but it uses your latitude and longitude to determine what breweries are nearby. And based on that you can do all sorts of things. One of the coolest features that we actually have is that if you have Uber installed on your phone, you can directly call an Uber from the app and tell them what brewery you want to go to.

DTH: Why beer?

EB: Beer is something that is kind of uniquely North Carolinian. Especially looking at Asheville, the per capita breweries there is wild. And even in the Triangle, some of the breweries that are here are doing extremely creative things. Fullsteam, which is around the corner from my house, as far as what they’re doing with what they call plow-to-pint beer, and just brewing beer that really feeds off of North Carolina’s own agriculture, it’s just something that the state has really embraced.

DTH: How did you discover your love of beer?

EB: I was a college freshman, at one point. I got really bored quickly of drinking Natty Light and Keystone, and so I wanted to drink something that I would enjoy. And so I just naturally gravitated toward craft beer, because it’s something you can drink and enjoy and also has the good effects of beer, I guess. It just worked out perfectly, growing up in North Carolina and then going to school at UNC, just as far as the abundance of good beer around. Especially with TOPO being back there — they’re one of the OGs of North Carolina beer.

DTH: What are the best places to get beer in Chapel Hill, and what are the best drinks there?

EB: The best place to get drinks in Chapel Hill is Beer Study — it’s a fantastic way of spending an afternoon. TOPO is incredible. If you love North Carolina beer, TOPO is towards the top of your list for places to go. The most underrated drink that they have is the Old Well White Mimosa, which is the Old Well White with Prosecco and orange juice. It’s greater than the sum of its parts. But number one in my heart will always be He’s Not.


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