One of the many things we take pride in at NCRMA is our foundation and history of excellence in legislative representation for our members. The immediate past preside of our board describes it this way: “NCRMA is the expert on NC retail laws. The Association is the driving force behind the passage of positive legislation, and equally important, works hard to stop legislation that could negatively impact retail business operations through taxes, regulations or fees.” The third 2016 Retailer of the Year awardee is a relatively new business and one that was born out of the passage of the Growler Bill which allowed retailers to sell growlers, one example of NCRMA’s urging of passage of positive legislation.
The Glass Jug, a retail craft beer store in Durham opened just 2 years, is owned by Chris and Katy Creech. They were named as award winners in recognition of their role as not just part of the craft beer movement that’s taken North Carolina by storm in recent years, but for being at its forefront.
The Glass Jug has one of the largest selections of locallymade beverages in the state, with at least 75% of their draft options being locally-sourced. Even with impressive growth, the owners listen and respond to customer demand including increasing their inventory of packaged beer, wine, and cider, and adding more nonalcoholic options including a tap for locallymade soda.
In addition, all employees are Certified Beer Servers through the Cicerone organization, showing a high level of knowledge of the many craft beer styles, their histories, and how to properly serve draft and bottled beer, operate and troubleshoot a draft system, and ensure “beer clean” glassware.
The store has now become a community center and meeting place for South Durham and the entire staff takes pride in how involved they are in the local community including hosting meetings for local clubs and supporting local charities. The Glass Jug sponsors Team on Draft, a local cycling group that raises money for the National MS Society and were the 2nd highest fundraising team in NC this year. They have also co-hosted a fundraiser to benefit the Chapel Hill Ronald McDonald House and hosted fundraisers for the Carolina Poodle Rescue, the Carolina Beagle Rescue and Hope Animal Shelter.
Chris and Katy appreciate the way they have been embraced by their local community and their new industry and are mindful of their opportunity to positively impact others. “We were thrilled to be selected as an NC Retailer of the Year, particularly as such a new business. We have put in a lot of work over the past two years, and the response, from both our community of customers and our peers in the industry, has been phenomenal. We’re so excited to be playing an active role in our local community and helping support other local businesses”, Chris said of the recognition.
The Creeches are active members of the North Carolina Brewer’s Guild and serve on NCRMA’s newly-formed Retail Beverage Council. As for Chris’s encouragement for new retailers or those contemplating the exciting world of entrepreneurship, “There is always more to be done. Make sure to take time to enjoy each step along the way, because with each small success and step forward, more work and bigger goals always present themselves. It’s easy to get caught up in it all, so take time to celebrate (with a good local craft beer, of course) and soak it in. Don’t wait until you feel like you’ve ‘made it’ or even until you feel like you’re ‘caught up,’ because it’s just not going to happen as a new small business. You have to make yourself take the time.”