Queen City Brewers Festival paid a visit to the Pineville headquarters of
Kind Beers for a meeting with owner Terry Bumbaugh. Terry starts his day early and travels regularly, so his freshly brewed coffee would have to substitute beers for this 7:30 A.M. meeting.
“I have a 750ml of Coffee Oatmeal Stout if you fellas wanna crack that open”, Terry joked as we sat down in the Kind Beers war room and began the Q&A session.
How did you start Kind Beers and what was your background before getting into the Craft Beer industry?
Kind Beers started out of drinking and boredom (laughing). I used to own a construction company and was getting bored with it so I started getting into home brewing, which I think my buddies really appreciated the most. My first recipe, the Pale Ale, I worked on until we thought it was perfect, and something really special. The next step was to get it brewed, so I called around and found a brewery that would contract with me. That brewery was Thomas Creek and we’ve been with them ever since. We then worked on getting my recipe to commercial-scale production (spring of 2008), but there was a hop shortage at the time, so we ended up making the beer without the Fuggles hops my original recipe had. But I really liked the way it came out using Amarillo, so I’m not changing it now (laughing and lighting another cigarette).
With Charlotte and North Carolina’s craft beer scene gaining in profile, how do you want the Charlotte-area to perceive Kind Beers?
I want them to enjoy the beer I’m responsible for bringing to the marketplace. And even though there isn’t a brewery set up behind us, I’m the one brewing the beer on Thomas Creek’s system [beginning in December]. It’s a challenge for sure when you add brewing on top of all the logistics and marketing so Kind Beers gets to the end consumer. Now if I did own a brewery, my profit-margin would be a lot better. But that’s not the case today and that means I have to make sure my product distribution grows, and I think the Charlotte-area will appreciate that.
What can we expect in terms of new Kind Beers to hit store shelves?
Yeah, I kind of did it ass-backwards and started with bottling instead of kegging to start out. But it’s worked and we have been able to build our brand at great bottle shops all over the southeast. As far as new beers, ultimately I’d like to have five year-rounds and two seasonals. We’re almost ready to release an Imperial Pale Ale and the Coffee Oatmeal Stout is really nice. After that, I’ve wanted to do a lager for the longest time. Personally, I’m a fan of bigger beers, but I’d also like to have some diversity in my lineup and a lager option will complement our many ales. However, we watch our volume very closely and if a certain style is not a hit, then it will be replaced with something new.
What’s your favorite aspect of beer festivals?
Absolutely it’s about all the different people I get to talk to. Unfortunately, I don’t get out as much as I’d like so it really makes beer tasting events the best way for me to connect with my fans and I’m grateful for the following we’re generating. When I hear people say that Kind Beers is their “house beer” it’s as good a feeling there is. I’ve met people from all walks of life through festivals and that’s what going to these things is all about.