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Good Beer Hunting

May 18, 2024

Some people know early on they’re destined to be their own boss. Rachael Hudson is one of these people. She’s the co-owner and head brewer at Pilot Brewing Company in Charlotte, North Carolina, a small brewery that’s made big waves in her local scene and beyond since opening in 2018. Since then, the business has racked up accolades at the Great American Beer Festival, the US Open Beer Championship, and the North Carolina Brewers Cup Competition, including being named North Carolina Brewery of the Year for 2023.

But for as nice as the awards are, Rachael says opening a brewery isn’t about fame (and it’s definitely not about money). It’s more about being an outlet for her ability and desire to teach curious consumers about what it is they’re consuming. She’s an Advanced Cicerone who plans to take the Master exam again later this year, as well as a national and international beer judge and co-host of the False Bottomed Girls podcast with Master Cicerone Jen Blair. Needless to say, she knows what she’s talking about, and she’s passionate about sharing her knowledge with absolutely anyone who will listen.

In this episode, Rachael shares when and how she knew she had to go into business for herself and why education is such a critical part of what Pilot offers to the community. She also talks about her “less is more” mentality when it comes to recipe development, and how their ESB tends to outshine even their IPAs. Pilot probably isn’t going to get much bigger, but that’s not what Rachael wants anyway. She’d rather focus on perfecting what they put out and keep figuring out ways to show other people that they too can turn their passion into a profession.