Friday, December 5, 2014

Ponysaurus Brewing Co. expands brewery

Durham's stake in the adult beverage game is growing. The two liquor brands, and three stand-alone breweries in Durham are soon to get the company of another liquor brand, two distilleries...and another brewery.

Technically that last brewery is already in operation, but now it's getting its own home; Ponysaurus Brewing Company will no longer be a nanobrewery.

After humble beginnings a year ago as a tenant at The Cookery, Ponysaurus occupied the space above the front room entrance.  The brewing space was so small brewer Keil Jansen had to use a scissor lift to get to his work space.

Now, the brewery has outgrown that space and is moving into a home of its own at the corner of Hood Street and Ramseur Street. Production from the new location is anticipated to begin this spring.

The new facility, a 6,000 square foot warehouse east of the Durham Bulls Athletic Park, will expand the company’s brewing capacity from 180 barrels a year to 2,000 barrels a year, in addition to providing space for a taproom that is slated to open in the summer of 2015.
Ponysaurus brews can currently be found on draft at various Durham establishments such as Mateo, and Wine Authorities.  The new facility, which will include a canning line, will expand the list of retail shops and restaurants where Ponysaurus Brewing Co. will be available, in addition to the cans and specialty bottles that will be available in the taproom.

Learn more about Durham breweries and taprooms, and don't miss out on tastings by following the Durham Event's how you can experience #DurhamFreshDaily.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Master Sommelier Looks To Open Wine Bar in Durham

As Downtown Durham continually sees new businesses popping up, like 5 new hotels, numerous restaurants, retail shops, and more, other businesses are joining the fray and leveraging Durham attention on the national stage. In fact, it's hard to keep up as the place changes and offers opportunities for everyone to see how Durham delivers on its new campaign encouraging people to experience #DurhamFreshDaily. One new business-person is trying to make it easier on everyone.

Enter Fred Dexheimer.

Dexheimer, the only Master Sommelier in the Carolinas, came to Durham as part of the team that opened The Black House at Straw Valley on 15-501 at I-40. He has since left that project and is now, along with a carefully chosen team, working to open Rx Wine Lab, a wine bar that will be located in Downtown Durham. Dexheimer, with energy to spare, is wasting no time in making it easier for folks to keep up with him, and to get to know his concept. The title of Master Sommelier is reserved for the most knowledgeable in the field - only 186 people have earned the title worldwide; currently there are only 118 in North America. "Durham is filled with high profile professionals, and adding someone with Fred's credentials to the local food scene just further makes the point that Durham is a dining destination that contends on the national stage," said Sam Poley, Director of Public Relations for the Durham Convention & Visitors Bureau.

Says Dexheimer, "I'm not just a guy who serves wine, and Rx Wine Lab is not just a wine bar." The business will incorporate some food service, but it's biggest differentiation is the focus on wine education - hence the name. "Labs are where people learn, and we want customers to learn and enjoy at the same time," Dexheimer added referring to the wine education he conducts.

Rx Wine Lab recently ran a very popular pop-up wine bar at Blue Coffee Cafe to test their concept as well as support owner Gwen Matthews' Kickstarter campaign to move her business over to Church St. at Main St. That went so well, according to Dexheimer that he and his team will repeat the effort this coming Saturday, December 6. They are also launching their own Kickstarter campaign to raise money for Rx Wine Lab in an effort to secure the funding necessary to build out a space in Downtown Durham. Details about the two events are below. Note that the Kickstarter event is only for those who RSVP; the pop-up wine bar is open to everyone.

Rx Wine Lab Kickstarter Wine Party!

    • Thursday, Dec. 4th - 6pm - 9pm
    • The Carrack Modern Art Gallery, 111 West Parrish Street, Durham
    • Cost: Free
    • RSVP:

Rx Wine Lab POP-UP Wine Bar

    • Saturday, Dec. 6th - 6pm - 12am
    • Blue Coffee CafĂ©, 202 North Corcoran Street, Durham 
    • Cost: $10 per glass, $12 per flight of 3 wines, $35 per bottle

Visit the Durham Event Calendar to learn about all the fun things to do here, and tag your social media posts with #DurhamFreshDaily when you share your experiences online.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Durham Businesses Seeing Green

Businesses know that becoming environmentally green is not only a good idea, but it's also good business. Fortunately for visitors and residents alike, Durham has its fair share of businesses that get this concept.

Businesses that have been recognized by North Carolina’s NC GreenTravel Initiative are realizing substantial savings in their energy, water and waste disposal bills. In Durham, NC businesses recognized by GreenTravel include The King’s Daughters Inn, Hilton Garden Inn, Ninth Street Bakery, Museum of Life & Science and Festival For the Eno. Across North Carolina, over one-hundred businesses have applied for, and received, recognition by the program at no cost.

In addition to the resource savings, these businesses also receive free listings on the NC GreenTravel website, a certificate of sustainability and door/window decals indicating that they are recognized program members. They also have the option of requesting free environmental assessments from Waste Reduction Partners, a partner organization that provides environmental technical assistance to businesses across the state.  

For more information about becoming a recognized NC GreenTravel business, contact Tom Rhodes at (919) 707-8140 or email. Plan a visit to Durham today online.

Monday, November 17, 2014

2014 Green Plus Sustainable Enterprise Award Winners Recognized

Durham is going green! All across town there are businesses that are making sustainable decisions and encouraging others to take care of the planet.

Green Plus, a program focusing on certification, education networking & recognition for green and sustainable businesses has announced several Durham winners of the 2014 Sustainable Enterprise Awards.
  • Green Plus Sustainable Enterprise of the Year - Cocoa CinnamonCocoa Cinnamon is a two-year-old coffee shop that prides itself on its community outreach, and sources the majority of its coffee, chocolate, milk, and pastries from local and sustainable businesses, and provides employee benefits and a living wage to both full and part-time workers.
  • Green Plus Innovator of the Year - Bull City ForwardBull City Forward is a nonprofit organization that supports local businesses and entrepreneurs that practice triple bottom line sustainability.  While socially innovative itself, Bull City Forward acts more as a conduit for other Durham-based businesses, encouraging innovation in business and helping businesses in the region improve their social capital.
  • Green Plus Sole Proprietor of the Year - Food FWDFood FWD, a startup run by married entrepreneurs Sarah and Noah Marsh, that partners with restaurants for large-scale collection of food waste.  The food waste is brought to a local composter, which is then re-sold to the public.  Food FWD also sells compostable serviceware.
  • ​Green Plus Champion - Chris Carmody
This recognition isjust one more indication that Durham is home to an innovative and entrepreneurial community of businesses and citizens. The Durham Convention & Visitors Bureau was the first organization of its type in the nation to be certified Green Plus and just the second in Durham.

Friday, November 14, 2014

DPAC Nominated for Prestigious Billboard Magazine Award

DPAC, Durham Performing Arts Center in Durham, NC is no stranger to receiving high praise, even from one of the most prestigious entertainment groups in the United States. Again it is the recipient of high praise because of its success as a venue, something it receives regularly.

The success DPAC has had is undeniable, and this time it is from a true industry leader. DPAC has been recognized as one of three finalists in the Billboard Touring Awards for the top venue under 5,000 seats. These awards are based primarily on the Billboard Boxscore chart, recognizing true box office success and industry achievement.

This nomination puts DPAC up alongside some serious competition from globally-known venues. Other finalists are The Colosseum at Caesars Palace -- Las Vegas which has won the previous three years and Fox Theatre – Atlanta, which has been a finalist in the same category for three years. 
The winners will be announced live in New York City on November 20, 2014 at the Edison Ballroom. Billboard Magazine, the sponsor of this award, is one of the oldest trade magazines in the world. 
Learn more about the award-winning DPAC or other performing arts venues online, and about all that is happening here with the Durham Event Calendar.

Durham Recognized by Trivago in the Top 50 of Best Value Cities in US

Durham is welcoming to all visitors because of the mix of experiences it offers, but also because, frankly, it's a good deal. Not only is visiting economical, but the place delivers a high value for the dollars people spend. These two different distinctions are important to appeal to the breadth of visitor markets.

The good value represented by Durham's lodging offerings was quantified by the travel website Durham earned a spot on the Top 50 Best Value Cities in the US at #13 with an average price of $101 for a room.

The Best Value Index provides an overview of the best-valued destinations on their site by using an algorithm that combines the trivago Hotel Price Index with trivago’s Reputation Ranking for hotels. The trivago Hotel Price Index shows the average overnight accommodation prices for a standard double room on trivago. The Best Value Index ranks cities with 50 or more hotels, based on a combination of consumer ratings and average hotel prices from 1-50 with 1 being the highest ranked.

Like any community, Durham welcomes praise, and even catalogs it online. Those interested in accolades Durham has earned can see them on this website. Plan a visit to Durham online, find one of those highly-ranked hotel rooms here, and see all that is going on with the Durham Event Calendar.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Durham Has a New Website, and It's Awesome

With over 2.4 million page views last year from more than 1.2 million visitors, is Durham’s most powerful online visitor marketing tool…and it’s about to get better when it re-launches later today. With an entirely new look, as well several enhancements that make it a future-focused channel, the site is packed with many new features. 

“We’re really pleased with the design and functionality of the new site and know it will greatly help visitors and residents better find the information they need about Durham,” said Shelly Green, the President and CEO of the Durham Convention & Visitors Bureau (DCVB), Durham’s marketing agency.

With this new site, Durham further presents itself as a destination offering new possibilities every day, and this website is great tool to tell Durham’s story. The enhancements derived from the site overhaul are too numerous to mention, but some of the highlights include:
  • Image-forward design: the power of photography in digital communication is undeniable, and this new site design leverages a lot more images.  Durham businesses now have the ability to add images to their listings on the site through a partner portal,
  • Vastly improved Durham Event Calendar: The benchmark by which all other event calendars in Durham are measured, the 5,000+ events per year listed are now searchable in a variety of ways, and entering an event on to the calendar is easier than ever by visiting
  • Location sensitivity: Using the GPS capability of a mobile device, or the IP address of an internet connection, the website tells visitors what is nearby to them at any given moment – there is no more guessing about what options are close by, or how to get to them.
  • Device awareness: More than 40% of users access DCVB’s website on the go, and the new website accommodates them by re-sizing and reformatting information based on the display size the user is viewing. Phones, tablets, and desktop computers will display the site with maximum value for the user.
  • Topic-specific information integration: Throughout the site are widgets that aggregate related information to the topic users are reading about, including event information and related features of interest.

Visitors are important to Durham given that more than 9 million of them spent $766 million here last year. They come from near and far, with 7.7 million visitors coming as day trippers and 1.3 million spending the night, as they dine, shop, seek entertainment and more. “With the new responsive design format that gives mobile viewers a better experience, we expect visitation to the site, which is already very high, to grow significantly,” says Shelly Green, the President and CEO of the Durham Convention & Visitors Bureau. “And that equates to a lot of satisfied visitors enjoying what Durham has to offer.”