It’s January. A new year, a fresh start, and our best intentions put forth into society in the form of resolutions. Does anyone keep New Year’s Resolutions? Goals made late at night after many drinks don’t seem to have much staying power. Ernest Hemingway, legendary drinker and sometimes author, famously said, “Always do sober what you said you’d do drunk. That will teach you to keep your mouth shut.” Well we took that sentiment to heart and decided after years of complaining into our cups about the headaches and torture of USDA inspections, we soberly did what we said we would do. We are no longer operating under USDA Food Safety Inspection Service inspection. As we move forward with our butchery we will work directly with local county health officials.

Sadly this means we will no longer be able to make sausages and other charcuterie products for independent family farms. It was a heartbreaking decision for us. Working with these farms has been a true honor and, vanity aside, we provided a unique and valuable service for them. After ten yeas of being fettered by regulations we know why other people aren’t rushing into this industry, but that doesn’t mean the position isn’t desperately needed. More people are resolving to eat natural local foods and there are plenty of sustainable farms ready to help them achieve those goals. However the infrastructure needed to get from pasture to plate is practically nonexistent. Hampered by high costs, overregulation, lack of skilled employees, and the general unpleasantness of the task, small slaughterhouses and butchers are struggling. Remember without these workers you wouldn’t be able to enjoy that grass-fed beef hamburger or fresh bacon you picked up at the farmer’s market.

But enough about why we made our New Year’s Resolution; let’s get on to a more cheerful topic. What are we going to do next? Our restaurant is closed until March 16th and we are using that time to update our menu and retail counter to include new and dynamic products from the butchery. We are experimenting with salamis and pepperoni, cured hams, and new sausages as well as a selection of fresh cuts of pork and beef. Under USDA we were prohibited from making poultry products, but we are looking forward to adding chicken and turkey to our pork and beef repertoire. Delicious charcuterie is on the way!

Did you think our brewers were going to use the hiatus to kick back and eat samples from the butcher? Not a chance! The lagering tanks are filling up with Corolla Gold, Black Radish and the Maibock is well underway with the OBX and Red Ale waiting for their turn. These familiar favorites will be on draft when the restaurant reopens in March, but they’ll be making room for some bold new neighbors. Our brewer Andy is experimenting with new styles and flavors as he plans to have a unique small barrel brew on draft every month. I’m firmly convinced that all brewers are mad scientists at heart (in the best possible way!) and some of Andy’s ideas may convince you as well! There are also some collaboration projects and keg exchanges in the works that will excite beer enthusiasts and novice drinkers alike.

If you can’t wait until March for our beer, you don’t have to. We are distributed along the Outer Banks year round – ask your bartenders for the Outer Banks’s original microbrewery! And for Outer Banks Voice readers in the Triangle we are coming to a store near you! Check out the Beer Finder tool on our website to see where you can find Weeping Radish beers in cans and on draft.

2018 is going to be an exciting year at the Weeping Radish and we look forward to sharing our adventures with you!