WILMINGTON — There are 10 craft breweries in the Wilmington area. They all brew local beers, but Flytrap Brewing offers something different, a selection of local works of art. The exhibit is something that ties into the business’ deep commitment to the community.
“It was important to me from the very beginning to connect with the community,” said Mike Barlas, owner and head brewer at Flytrap. “All of the arts, especially musicians and artists. This town is special, there’s a very talented group of people here.”
Flytrap, which celebrated two years of operation last month, has hosted a dozen arts shows so far. They have closed out both calendar years by hosting Cape Fear Community College’s art department show.
“This particular show is something we’re very proud to be a part of,” Barlas said. “Students at CFCC have a summer show, I believe, but their fall semester students didn’t have anywhere to showcase their work.”
Barlas said he proud to help students take their artwork into the actual marketplace.
“We help our artists set up, but we give them pretty artist free reign. So the students got the experience of designing a show, how to hang artwork, how to label, what to price artwork for.”
The CFCC show featured screen prints.
“This is the second year they’ve done prints,” said Zach Tooman, a bartender at Flytrap, “they’ve been very popular.”
Flytrap’s involvement goes beyond live music and graphic art. From its inception, the brewery was involved with local environmental group, including the Cape Fear River Watch and the North Carolina Coastal Land Trust.
“The beauty of the natural spaces around Wilmington, the river, the beach, that’s part of what makes this town so special,” Barlas said. “Right around the time we opened, the legislation passed, making venus flytrap poaching a felony. That’s our namesake, and it is native to this area, so that was an inspiring moment. In general, that’s our inspiration, to do our best to work in ways that preserve the natural beauty that’s around us and all the interconnected ecosystems.”
Barlas said Flytrap frequently will do donations happy hours – or entire days – during which a dollar for every pint of beer sold is donated to a specific local organization (a full list of Flytrap’s community partners is available on its website).
Flytrap is located at 319 Walnut St. at Fourth St. in downtown Wilmington. The CFCC art show runs through December.