Folks Flock To Fonta Flora Brewery

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Folks Flock To Fonta Flora Brewery

Fonta Flora Is Burke Attraction of the Year

A foothills brewery that turned into a national destination has been named the Burke County Attraction of the Year for 2017.

Fonta Flora Brewery received the honor in a vote by board members of the Burke County Tourism Development Authority. TDA executive director Ed Phillips said the brewery was chosen based on the number of visitors it draws to Burke County.

“Fonta Flora has been open three years and in that time has become a destination brewery that brings thousands of visitors to Burke County for our craft brew scene,” Phillips said.

The brewery established its reputation early on, winning a gold medal at the 2014 Great American Beer Festival and capturing a second gold medal at the 2015 festival. It also founded the State of Origin Beer Festival in 2014. The one-day festival, which showcases beer made in North Carolina from local ingredients, fills the courthouse square in downtown Morganton each June.

“Head brewer Todd Boera is recognized nationally, and also internationally, for his contributions to very unique craft beer styles,” Phillips said. “When the brewery does special bottle releases, there will be a few hundred people lined up on North Greene Street in Morganton waiting to purchase their allotment. These people are from all over the United States. They don’t ship it, so the only way to get it is to be here.”

David Bennett, a co-owner of the brewery, said it has been a pleasant surprise to see so many people traveling to Morganton to taste their craft beers.

“The initial thrust for us was to be a localized spot catering to a local customer base. The way it has morphed into a destination is a shock to all of us,” said Bennett. “It’s neat that you can go into our tasting room on the weekend and see a mix of local people from Burke County and people coming in from all over the world.”

Bennett gives full credit to Boera for the popularity of the brewery as a tourist attraction.

“We have a nice location and a good setting, but the real attraction is the product we make,” said Bennett. “It’s definitely a mixture of art and science and Todd has that down pat.”

The popularity of the brewery has led to the construction of a second Fonta Flora location. A new production facility and tasting room is slated to open by the end of the year at the old Whippoorwill Dairy property in western Burke County near Lake James.

Fonta Flora is the second winner of the Burke County Attraction of the Year award, joining the History Museum of Burke County, which captured the inaugural award in 2016.

“There are a lot of great things to do in Burke County, so to be named Attraction of the Year, we feel very honored,” Bennett said.

Ken Ulmer

Former TV weatherguy who never got it right, til the day I predicted mostly cloudy skies with a 100% chance of unemployment. I've survived stints as a morning radio host, stay-at-home dad, and lab assistant. All left me with with varying degrees of side-effects, which somehow combined to make me a good fit to be the editor/video producer of the828.com.

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