Type the words, “New Year’s Day 2023” into your Google search bar and see what happens. Go ahead, I’ll wait…. Seems even the internet is celebrating!
Across the country, people are eating “Lucky Foods” to kick the new year off right and in the south that means collards or greens, rice and peas or beans. In Charlotte NC, it also means soup.
At Free Range Brewing, January 1st as been a day to celebrate friends and fellowship since shortly after the brewery opened 7 1/2 years ago.
In 2016 with the help of the area’s local chef and farmer community, Sarah and Jason Alexander, owners of Free Range Brewing, started a tradition. Since then, they have made it an annual event to serve up FREE soup, tasty bread and sweet treats to the Charlotte community on New Years Day. This year the fun takes place from 11am – 2pm or until all the soup is gone.
The couple expects 300-500 people, and based on year’s past, expects they will go through approximately 2,000 servings of food. No reservations needed, but admission (and parking, I might add) are all first come, first served.
How This New Year’s Day 2023 Tradition Began
Free Range Brewing started this delicious event with a small group of 4 chef friends in 2016 because “We were looking for a fun way to start the New Year with community and warm, full bellies,” explained Sarah.
Year after year, as they meet new chef and farmer friends, they have more interest from new chefs to join in the fun. The New Year’s Day 2023 Free Soup Celebration at Free Range Brewing will offer soups and some baked goods from some 20 different Charlotte area chefs.
The Charlotte area Chefs Who Make it Happen
Chefs Geoff Bragg, Marc Jacksina and Adam Duke, pictured above will all be on hand again this year. Here is just a taste of who will be there with them as we all ring in the new year as a community with friends and fellowship.
- Michael Bowling Hot Box ” Next Level Kitchen “
- Geoff Bragg at The Common Market
- Rodney Rodin with Charlotte Fish Company
- Adam Duke of Dukes Bread
- Ashley Boyd of 300 East
- Rob Clement of Meshugganah
- Brenton Ebersol of Bleu Barn
- Oscar Johnson of Jimmy Pearls
- Andy Hickling of Freshlist
- Daniel Wheeler of Caldwell Community College
- Mark Jacksina and Ann Marie Stephaney of Southminster
- Julia Simon of Nourish & Plant Joy
- Awo Amenumey of Eh’vivi
- Joseph Huang of Bang Bang Burgers
- Zack Renner – Slightly Seasoned Meats
- Hannah Woociker of MoonBox Bakery
- Ryan Allen aka fried chicken sandwich
- Courtney Evans of Leah & Louise
- Benjamin Sullivan of Cranford Hospitality and more!!
Over the years, with the help of all of the chefs that participate, the team at Free Range estimates that they have served up over 9,500 servings of FREE SOUP and FREE tasty pastries and bread over the course of 6 FREE SOUP DAYS!
The New Year’s Day 2023 free soup event
Sarah and Jason say that they have learned over the years that customers have a hard time picking just one or two soups to try. To that end, they now keep the bowls smaller, for 8oz, servings, so that brewery guests can try as many soups as they’d like without creating a lot of food waste.
And if you are thinking, that’s a lot of paper bowls to throw away…you’d be right. But, never fear, each year, all of the bowls, spoons and napkins are compostable and are composted with Charlotte’s own Crown Town Compost. You can read more about Crown Town Compost here.
Join with Free Range Brewing and start the year, giving back
While the soup at the event is free, there is a charge, of course, for anything at the bar. There is wine and beer and delicious non-alcoholic options as well. This is absolutely a family fun event, so bring the crew. Community means giving back and sometimes lending a hand. With that mission in mind, this day, on behalf of Free Range, Sarah and Jason will donate a portion of the proceeds from the day, and raise money as a fundraiser for Community Culinary School of Charlotte.
Community Culinary School of Charlotte is an organization which provides workforce development training and job placement assistance for adults who face barriers to long-term successful employment. We provide workforce development training and job placement assistance for adults who face barriers to long-term successful employment. The school’s vision is to transform the lives of their students and families, while positively impact our community.
In addition to donations, you can also help them learn by going there to eat breakfast or lunch or by using the school’s catering services. Both the school and the cafe at Community Culinary School of Charlotte are located at 9315-D Monroe Rd. in Charlotte. The cafe is regularly open Monday – Friday 9 am to 2 pm. After this weekend’s holiday, they will reopen for business on Tuesday Jan 3, 2023.
Look for a fabulous 2023 line-up of events at Free Range Brewing coming in the new year
The spirit of community is important to Free Range owners Sarah and Jason at the original location in NoDa, there is event space for dinners, bake sales, Movie nights and more.
I recently enjoyed the last of 2022’s Cultivating Community Dinners at Free Range Brewing in December. The dinner featured Chef Awo Amenumey of Eh’viv here in Charlotte. On the regular, Chef Awo recreates the flavors of her homeland, Ghana for her local catering clients. This night she shared her culinary traditions as she cooked with Charlotte chefs Oscar Johnson and Darryl Cooper of Jimmy Pearls and Chef Ammalu of Goodly Eating. The crowd at the dinner – this food writer included – learned a lot, loved every bite and had a ton of fun.
Free Range Brewing enjoys two locations in Charlotte, each offering their locally crafted beers and a host of special events.
Visit them in NoDa at Free Range Brewing 2320 N. Davidson St. Monday – Thursday: 4-10pm; Friday: Noon – 11pm; Saturday: 11am – 11pm
Sunday : 11am – 8pm
And at Free Range BAR at Camp North End:301 Camp Rd. on Monday-Tuesday: 4pm – 10pm; Friday : Noon -10pm; Saturday : 11am -10pm; Sunday : 11am – 7pm. Closed Wednesday & Thursday :
It is Free Range Brewing’s Mission to support Local Farming, the Arts, and the enrichment of kids. They are also there for our LGBTQIA+ and BIPOC communities in any way possible. Go and see these good people soon! #TellThemHeidiSentYou