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Wilmington Brewery Offers Water to the Community and Beer to a Reporter

If you've got to ride out a hurricane, you might want to get to know the folks at a local brewery. Especially when they're the kind of people who will bring a reporter beer to drink on air, take any opportunity to teach some beer history, and most importantly, be there to support the local community after the storm.

Ironclad Brewery, which opened in 2015 and is located in the Historic District of downtown Wilmington, North Carolina, emptied one of their beer tanks, sanitized it and filled it with 310 gallons of water. During an interview on MSNBC before the storm, Elizabeth Dowless, vice president of Business Operations for Ironclad Brewery, said that they had swapped the beer for water so they could offer it to any Wilmington resident that needed clean water after the storm.

It's a move that has garnered Ironclad Brewery new fans from across the country.

MSNBC reporter Craig Melvin, covering Hurricane Florence from downtown Wilmington, talked to Dowless and Laren Avery, Ironclad's head brewer. Dowless was planning to ride out the storm at the brewery because the business was safer than her house and in order to watch over another business she owns in Wilmington.

The building that houses Ironclad was constructed in 1925. It sits about four blocks from the river, but it's built from steel and brick. Dowless, who is from Wilmington, noted that this storm didn't feel different than others. She told Melvin, "But that's because I've accepted the fact that I'm not smarter than Mother Nature and I don't know what it's going to do. The best I can do is make sure my family, my business, and everyone's taken care of."

Dowless also noted that the brewery is all about supporting the community, so they're ready to open as soon as they can after the storm, with water for whoever needs it.

In addition to sharing why they were staying, Dowless and Avery showed that fortitude we've come to expect from those brave enough to ride out major hurricanes. They brought beer with them to the interview and master brewer Avery took the opportunity to give a bit of beer history along with the glass of Ironclad's Heart of Atlantis brew. Avery explained that the beer is a gruit, an ancient ale made without hops.

After raising a toast to Wilmington and taking a drink of beer, Melvin joked, "It's like the fourth hour of the Today Show here. I kind of feel like Kathy Lee and Hoda."

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