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Rick Featherly is the current owner of the brewery known as Hop Stop in Asheville, North Carolina. Rick wakes up early six out of seven days of the week to head to his brewery and begin working on new batches of beer. He also oversees the production of current batches. He loves his job and feels fortunate to have the opportunity to work in this field.
Featherly currently has five employees working for him, which he values for their positive attitudes and great work ethic. He has built genuine relationships with his employees and, because of that, his brewery is one that fosters positive vibes and a great atmosphere. Currently, the brewery is one of the most popular in town and sees local visitors, as well as travellers, daily. Hop Stop hosts various community events, including weekly run clubs, live music, food truck visits and humane society adoptions.
Rick Featherly has one dog, Rosco, who typically goes everywhere with him. He has a dog-friendly policy that allows guests of the brewery to bring their dogs with them, as along as they have vaccinations and are well behaved with other dogs. He has always loved animals and greatly enjoys seeing dogs around the brewery.
On his very few days off, Featherly likes to get outside and enjoy nature. He is an avid hiker, who has hiked the Appalachian Trail and is constantly preparing himself for more challenging hikes. He has hiked part of the Grand Canyon and has plans to take more trips out West to hike in the near future.
Rick Featherly grew up in rural Michigan, surrounded by the outdoors. From a young age, he had developed an undying love for nature and all of the beautiful offerings the outdoors had to share. Rick was a boy scout and learned many valuable survival tactics while he was just a young child. Featherly’s father instilled in him a great love for hiking and experiencing the sights and sounds of untouched terrain.
Every summer, Rick Featherly attended sleep away summer camp in the mountains of Asheville, NC, where his father was from. While he was away at camp, he took courses in many outdoor subjects, including swimming, kayaking, hiking, horseback riding and archery. By far, his favorite activity was hiking. Twice a week, like clockwork, Featherly would go out on hiking adventures in the North Carolina mountains with his fellow campers. He was amazed by all of the wilderness that surrounded him and always had an abundance of energy that helped him to climb steep hills and rough terrain.
Featherly’s favorite part of the year was summertime, when he was able to have a reunion with his camp friends and enjoy a summer outdoors. He was a camper for seven years and, when he was too old to serve as a camper, he decided to work for the camp. He started off as a junior counselor and, by the time he was 19, he assumed a role as a senior counselor. As a senior counselor, he was required to oversee a cabin of 10 boys between the ages of six and eight. Unsurprisingly, Rick Featherly took over the hiking club at camp and began leading expeditions in the mountains nearby.
To this day, Rick still admits that spending his summers at sleep away camp was the best experience of his life. He made lifetime friends, learned a variety of new skills, and was instilled with even more of a passion for the outdoors. He encourages all parents to send their children to camp if they have the opportunity to do so.
As a young adult, Rick Featherly went on to graduate college with a business degree. Because he was always a very independent individual, he began thinking of career paths that would best suit his adventurous lifestyle. This is when he found a position open at a local brewery in Asheville, NC. Because he always had a place in his heart for the town in which he spent summers as a young boy, Featherly jumped on the opportunity and bought a one-way ticket to the North Carolina mountain city.
The position required Featherly to work five days a week stocking inventory and serving beers in the taproom. He really enjoyed the position and his ability to meet like-minded employees who shared his same passion for beer. He was soon intoxicated by the beer industry, and began seeking knowledge from the brewery’s head brewer, Chad Michaels. Michaels immediately recognized Featherly’s eagerness to learn and was happy to teach him everything there was to know about beer.
Before long, Rick Featherly was one of the top employees of the brewery who knew every technicality of the beer industry, as well as how to make a quality batch of beer. After working for the brewery for a number of years, Featherly started to take a notice of the expanding beer industry in Asheville, North Carolina. With a natural entrepreneurial spirit and some savings in place, he came up with the crazy idea to start his own brewery. At first, his family and friends tried to dissuade him from doing so, as they knew the cost and commitment associated with such a venture. But the adventurous Rick Featherly took the risk and began looking for spaces to host his brewery.
Soon enough, Rick found an old textile mill for sale with the help of a realtor. He purchased the building and began renovations right away. While contractors were working arduously to bring Rick’s vision to life, he was busy searching for dedicated individuals to join his brewery team. With the connections he had previously made in the industry, it wasn’t difficult for Rick Featherly to find his employees.
A year after he purchased the building he had a working brewery, making quality beer with the help of five employees. He named the brewery Hop Stop and soon enough he had craft beer drinkers from all over the state coming to see what his brewery had to offer. Hop Stop became a hangout for beer drinkers, professionals and college students to come and try out different styles of beer, surrounded by a positive atmosphere.
Almost as soon as the brewery was open, Rick Featherly began hosting community events ranging from dog adoptions to weekly run clubs. The brewery has also served as a venue for numerous weddings, birthday parties and other special events.
Since its opening, Featherly has worked at the brewery everyday, six days a week. On his one day off a week, he usually gathers his hiking gear and heads for the nearby mountains for hiking and relaxation.
Rick has always had a passion for hiking, which was only heightened when he started attending summer camp in the mountains of NC as a young boy. So far, Featherly has hiked the Appalachian Trail and a portion of the Grand Canyon.
About two years ago, he adopted a dog, Rosco, from the local humane society. He says that bringing Rosco into his life was the best thing he has ever done. He genuinely enjoys bringing Rosco with him wherever he goes, whether it’s hiking or to the brewery for a day of work. When he adopted the dog, Rosco was just a puppy that was left in a box in front of the adoption center overnight. Featherly worked with Rosco for months to socialize him and build trust.
It was Rosco that inspired him to make his brewery a dog-friendly place, offering treats and fresh water to each dog visiting. Rick encourages all individuals to adopt before ever thinking of purchasing a puppy from a breeder, as there is a huge pet overpopulation problem in his area. Rick Featherly is a kind individual who made a successful business from one of his passions.
Rick Featherly hopes his brewery will continue to grow, supplying more jobs for the local economy. He has plans to build an outdoor patio as part of the tasting room, to offer visitors a place to enjoy the outdoors while drinking their beers. Currently, the brewery has nine beers on tap. He hopes that by next year he will double that number, providing 18 beers for visitors to try. He hopes to add different varieties of beer, including a few seasonal beers as well as the current popular sour variety.
In the next year, Featherly hopes his brewery will host even more special events, including more dog adoptions. He loves providing a place for the local humane society to find forever homes for dogs in need. He also hopes his brewery will host some more weddings and birthday parties, as these types of special events greatly help to grow his business.
When he has the time, Rick Featherly hopes to take some trips out west with a few of his hiking buddies. He still wants to finish hiking part of the Grand Canyon, which he did not get to complete while he was out there last time. In addition to travelling, he hopes to grow his family by adopting another dog for Rosco, as a companion.
In addition to these aspirations, Rick Featherly hopes to craft an award-winning beer to compete in a regional competition. Some of his beers have already won local awards but he is still looking to enter a regional competition and take home a gold medal.
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