BLUE GHOST BREWING COMPANY
8 questions with Zachary Horn, owner/partner of Blue Ghost Brewing Company in Fletcher, North Carolina.
Since 2016, Blue Ghost Brewing Company in Fletcher, NC, has become a staple and one of the local's favorite breweries and live music venues. On most Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays if you visit Blue Ghost, you will be treated to great food from the Hungry Ghost Food Truck, great craft beer brewed on-site, and live music from some of the best local bands and artists from North Carolina.
Day of Rock: Hi Zach. On October 21st, Blue Ghost will be hosting the first Day of Rock Festival by Tru Rock Revival Magazine. That's exciting news and should be a good time for everyone who attends. When did you open Blue Ghost Brewing Company? Was it something you had always wanted to do?
Zach: We opened to the public on March 4, 2016. The brewery was something that became a dream as young adults as we enjoyed the fun and camaraderie from homebrewing and hanging out with friends, enjoying crafted beer.
Day of Rock: What do you enjoy the most about Blue Ghost?
Zach: People and relationships are certainly what I've enjoyed the most from Blue Ghost. Not only with customers but also with other businesses and non-profit organizations. And especially our employees. It is inspiring to have people come alongside you and help you carry out something you have created, and do it with care and enthusiasm.
Day of Rock: In college, you were studying biology? Did you have thoughts of becoming a physician?
Zach: I certainly took a look at pre-med initially in college. I found out during that first year through my studies, though, I had much more of an interest in the field of ecology than in pre-med, and went in that direction. I had great experiences taking classes in wetland ecology, coral and tropical reef ecology, and other coursework; it really laid the foundation for the next decade of my life. I met my wife, Nicole, working together for the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy surveying for freshwater mussels and macroinvertebrates. I also met Erik Weber, who I started Blue Ghost with, in that same position. All of our backgrounds in ecology and connections through that job played a huge role in the formation of Blue Ghost, down to the brewery's name. To discover a local organism that is only found in the Southern Appalachian region and whose name as a business was unused - it was a no-brainer for us.
Day of Rock: What do you find the most challenging in your day-to-day with Blue Ghost?
Zach: My challenges are probably the same as any owner of a small business: limited resources, equipment failures, and the schedule juggling that often occurs from having a small staff.
Day of Rock: Your most memorable experience at Blue Ghost.
Zach: I don't think there has been a single memory that I could isolate during this experience. It's been akin to a hike along the Mountains To Sea trail in the Blue Ridge Mountains: there are great peaks and deep valleys, but every step had its own place in the journey. From the highs of preparing to open and having our children place their hands in freshly poured concrete, enjoying beers with staff after a crazy festival day, and seeing regular customers walk in the door it instantly brightens your day as you look forward to catching up... to the lows of the start of the pandemic, losing great employees due to changes in their lives, and some of the natural anxiety that comes with owning your own business.
Day of Rock: You offer live music a few nights a week at Blue Ghost. If you could bring in one band or artist to perform there from your bucket list, who would that be?
Zach: If anyone at any time was possible, it would be John Prine. I was lucky enough to see him perform in Asheville in October 2019, just a few months before he passed away, and I'm thankful for that.
Day of Rock: What is the most creative brew you've developed at Blue Ghost?
Zach: Again, that's tough to narrow down to a single one - we've done over 300 variations since we opened! Over the last couple of years, I've really enjoyed brewing traditional German-style lagers. My great, great, great, great grandfather emigrated to Ohio from Germany around the time of the Civil War; his occupation was listed as a brewer. It was the final bit of information that inspired me to try homebrewing for the first time in 2011.
Day of Rock: Do you have any plans to expand Blue Ghost or to open another location?
Zach: The goal for a while has been to expand the building at our current location, and we have taken steps toward that goal over the years. Following that, the goal has been to create another location or two in the region.