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Bottling the Magic:

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Pleasure Island Brewery Invitational
May 14th, 3 p.m. – 9 p.m.
$30 adv/$40 day of
Designated driver tickets: $20
Carolina Beach Lake Park

SENDING GOOD VIBES: The founders of Good Vibes Brewing Company (l. to r.) and the Pleasure Island Brewery Invitational, Ethan Hall, Paige and Melissa Snow. Photo by Bethany Turner.

“Right now, beer’s where it’s at!” Paige Snow, founder of local brewery Good Vibes, tells encore. Snow and his business partners, wife Melissa and head brewmaster Ethan Hall (former Azalea Coast Brewery owner), are unleashing their second beer festival along Carolina Beach Lake Park on May 14th. Here, they’ll welcome regional breweries to share their crafts and microbrews with the public.

“We only invite 20 regional breweries,” Snow says, “with a big emphasis on North Carolina beer. It allows them to be able to show more of what they can do, rather than just what a distributor can put on a shelf.”

Naturally, Good Vibes will have their own sips available, including their flagship beer, “The Experience.” Released in November, it offers an 8 percent Imperial Pale Ale flavor.

“Our purpose was to have an easy-drinking, high alcohol-content beer that was refreshing and could especially be enjoyed all year long,” Snow says. “We go to a lot of festivals, so we designed it to fit a live show/festival environment. We get a lot of calls about ‘something special’ in our beer, and, really, it’s a mixture of blood, sweat, tears and the experience of Good Vibes.’

Having started the company in January of 2010, the Snows and their partner began brewing beer out of their homes and friend’s garage as a hobby. This became the platform for generating flavors and ideas on starting a brewery. They launched the mom-and-pop shop in offices on Kerr Avenue and began brewing in Rocky Point. Currently, they’re in the process of finding a permanent brew spot in or around the Wilmington area as we speak.

Though they’re toddlers on the market, the response they’ve garnered in a little over a year has caught the attention of major players, including local distributor R.A. Jeffreys. In fact, the Anheuser-Busch company now services Good Vibes’ product needs.

“Being ‘picked up’ by R.A. Jefferys was huge for us,” Snow says. “They are now the fifth largest distributor in the nation. What that means for now is that they are able to sell more beer than we are able to produce. For a small operation like ours, it means our growth is limitless.”

Good Vibes fills mugs across the Port City to no avail. With one-of-a-kind hand-blown glass taps signifying its pour, Cape Fear Wine and Beer, Catch, The Little Dipper, Duck and Dive, Crow Hill, Fox and Hound and Juggling Gypsy all serve the pale ale.

“There are over 25 hand blown glass tap handles in town so far,” Snow says. The taps are locally crafted at Lucky Seven Tattoo, which houses a glass-blowing studio as well. The added connectivity to “going local” plays well with Good Vibes’ philosophy of treating every honed craft with respect. “Beer is an art form,” Snow says, “and we want to portray that in our brews. Each handle is different and numbered.”

Last summer, Good Vibes held the first Pleasure Island Brewery Invitational to much success. With over 400 people showing up to test the goods, folks can expect the follow-up event to be as engaging. On tap will be Catawba Valley, Duck Rabbit, Mother Earth, Thomas Creek, Big Boss, Natty Greene’s, SweetWater—which is making its debut in the Wilmington area—and almost a dozen more, including Good Vibes. There will be live music presented from funkadelic animators Yo Mama’s Big Fat Booty Band, as well as Root Soul Project and the Medlin Kidz.

“I want a true festival environment,” Snow says. “A professional stage and sound are provided from Modern Music, and there will be hula hoops scattered through the field, live artists doing paintings on site, and Juggling Gypsy will have a hookah bar set up, too.”

Food vendors abound, including revered Wilmington chef Keith Rhodes, who will debut a soft opening of his food truck. A contender for Wilmington’s Top Chef 2011 (see “Taste the Bon Vivant!” by Shannon Rae Gentry), Rhodes will donate a portion of his proceeds to Autism Speaks. Likewise Good Vibes will donate to the Sea Turtle Project, which ensures preservation and protection of the animals.

“I believe that the more you add to the environment, the more magical the beer!” Snow notes. “It adds to the environment of hand craft. We have a grass-roots approach, and we seem to find friends to support the cause.”

Though more invitationals are sure to come—and maybe even some distilling of vodka and gin along the way, according to Snow—the kids at Good Vibes are immediately setting their sights on a new concoction to be released later in the summer. A small batch will come out called “The Hippie Killa,” a nickname which began as a spoof but seemingly caught on. “The beer will be large enough to fulfill the title,” Snow assures of the 22-ounce bottles. “It will blow your mind!”

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Encore Magazine regularly covers topics pertaining to news, arts, entertainment, food, and city life in Wilmington. It also maintains schedules and listings of local events like concerts, festivals, live performance art and think-tank events. Encore Magazine is an entity of H&P Media, which also powers Wilmington’s local ticketing platform, Print and online editions are updated every Wednesday.

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