Source: Our State

Uli Bennewitz has lived in North Carolina for nearly 40 years, but he still maintains a thick German accent. Bennewitz moved to Manteo in the waning years of the Cold War as western Europeans sought investments that would be safe from the specter of Soviet Union invasions. They landed on the coast of North Carolina, according to Our State.

An Austrian hired Bennewitz to start a farm in Manteo. After a few years, his brother in Munich called and informed him that a Bavarian brewery had folded and asked if he wanted to purchase their equipment. Bennewitz said yes.

Unfortunately, North Carolina at the time did not allow an individual to start a brewery.

“First lesson,” Bennewitz says. “Never open a brewery in a state that outlaws brewpubs.”

He worked with the General Assembly to amend a law preventing breweries from selling directly to the public. That law was meant to be for Bennewitz and his little operation on the coast, but it opened the floodgates for the thriving craft beer industry North Carolina has today, Our State reports.

When his brewery, Weeping Radish, opened its doors, it was the only microbrewery in the Southeast and one of only 100 in the entire nation, Our State reports

“It fitted me because I’ve always been an alien,” Bennewitz says. “I’m on my third citizenship, for God’s sake.”

Though the brewery has grown over the years, Bennewitz still considers himself a farmer first and a brewer as a hobby.

“This,” he adds, “is clearly a hobby out of control.”

Read the full story from Our State Magazine.