At first glance, Sugar Creek Brewing Company in Charlotte, North Carolina, looks like many of the other craft breweries that have popped up across the country in the last few years. There’s a clean taproom with wooden tables, exposed brick walls, a window behind the bar through which thirsty patrons can see brewing equipment. But what most drinkers don’t see is the technology that makes the entire system run, or the fascinating story that brought Sugar Creek to life. For that, you need to talk to co-founder Joe Vogelbacher.

“What got me into beer was stress release,” said Vogelbacher. “My business went through the 2008 financial collapse, and my friend got me a home-brew kit to take my mind off things.”

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