The owner of Bold Missy Brewery blazed a trail—and now pays homage to other female changemakers

Carol Waggener is pretty much the original Bold Missy. The owner of the popular NoDa brewery says an old boss at Tropicana gave her the nickname and it stuck. Born and raised in Florida, the 52-year-old was working for Anheuser-Busch when the company moved her to Charlotte and then eliminated her job.

But Waggener loved the Queen City so much, she decided to stay, and in May 2017, she opened Bold Missy Brewery, the first 100-percent woman-owned brewery in Charlotte.

Each brew is named for a popular or famous woman in history, such as Git Yer Gun (a golden ale inspired by sharpshooter Annie Oakley), Solo Flight (a brown ale made with aviation pioneer Amelia Earhart in mind), and Rocket Ride (an India Pale Ale that’s a tribute to Sally Ride, the first American woman in space).

SouthPark chatted with Waggener about entrepreneurship, industry trends, and her favorite way to sit back with a cold one. Lightly edited for brevity and clarity.

Where did you get the idea to open a brewery and focus it around women who’ve had an impact?

I had an epiphany while drinking a beer at Triple C in the midst of a South End pub crawl. I realized I missed the community and the fun of the beer world and wanted to get out of the corporate world I’d spent my whole life in. The theme of strong women wasn’t one that really existed in beer, and I loved the idea of celebrating women who have inspired me.

What’s it like to be a woman who owns a brewery?

We are definitely proud to hold the title of “only female-owned brewery in Charlotte,” but the ultimate goal is to have people talk about us as one of the best breweries in town, regardless of who owns it and what gender they are.

Beer used to be considered “a man’s drink.” Are you seeing that change?

When I worked at Anheuser Busch, there was so much history of the brewery and the pubs where men would go to drink after a long day at work. Beer was refreshing and lighter in alcohol for easy consumption before heading home to the wife and kids. Now, as our culture has evolved and our taste has changed, beer is an excellent choice for women. There is a huge variety of beer styles that are great on their own or paired with food.

How do you decide who to name the beers after?

When I was just getting started, I had a list of women that I wanted to name beers for. Now, with our incredible team and awesome customers, we have a lot of input on who we should honor. We try to do a mix of women from history, current, and from a wide range of fields.

What other women inspire you?

In Charlotte, my biggest inspiration is my neighbor and dear friend Betty Knox, who just celebrated her 97th birthday. She moved to Charlotte by herself from a small town in South Carolina to become a nurse. She has lived on our street for over 60 years. She taught me “time and patience fixes most things”—and to drink a small glass of red wine and a handful of beer nuts every day.

What’s your favorite way to drink a beer?

Sitting with family and friends with my dog, Bruno, at my side.