Brewing Exceptional Beers Behind the Scenes
The Duck-Rabbit Craft Brewery
Farmville, North Carolina
Since 2004, Duck-Rabbit has done what most breweries never accomplish: establish a line of beers that sets them apart. When brewer Paul Philippon founded the company, he did so by going to the dark side. “I absolutely love dark beers but no more than I love beers that aren’t dark,” says Philippon. Yet, “It seemed important to me, from a business standpoint—and personally since it’s how I live my life—to have something that’s not the same as everybody else.” To this day, Duck-Rabbit Milk Stout remains the best seller.
“When we were brand-spanking new, I got an email from someone saying, ‘I love what you do, but why do you hate God’s favorite flower?’” The flora in question, of course, is hops. But Philippon continues, “I don’t hate hops. (I was) just carving out our own niche.” Duck-Rabbit has never brewed an IPA. Hoppy Bunny is black and bitter, yet Philippon doesn’t call it a black IPA nor does he appropriate the Northwest appellation Cascadian dark ale. It’s an American black ale. But, he remarks, it could be an Appalachian black ale.
When he’s not in the brewery, he does “all the normal stuff.” Philippon loves music, cooking, playing tennis and skiing. “I love beer and I love doing those activities. If I go see a cool band, there’s good beer available.” What Duck-Rabbit’s recent expansion means to him is that now, when he goes to shows at, say, Cat’s Cradle in Carrboro, “they sell my beer where cool bands play.”