On the last Thursday of each month, #instabeerupCLT takes place at a new (usually) location around Charlotte. While it isn’t advertised beyond social media, each event consistently draws 200+ people. The purpose behind the event is to meet people IRL with whom you interact on social media. If it sounds like one of the most millennial concepts you’ve ever heard of, you’re right – but don’t let that intimidate you from going to one of Charlotte’s most unique and fun events.
I’ll admit I was a little hesitant at first to attend an #instabeerupCLT event because I worried that at 35, I was going to be the oldest person in the world and interacting with people like Lillian on Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt: “So what do you do for work? Oh, I’m sorry, I meant can you believe you get paid to chase your bliss?” I don’t have perfectly imperfect mermaid hair and a cool, effortless looking wardrobe – my wardrobe consists of clothes that are either suitable for work or are brewery T-shirts.
My fears were unfounded, as it turns out. The first #instabeerupCLT event I attended was a Red Clay Ciderworks and the second event was #instayearup (their two-year anniversary) at Olde Mecklenburg. I wasn’t the oldest person there: although it is generally a younger (~40s or younger) crowd that attends, there is a good mix of ages. I also wasn’t the only person there who wasn’t wearing an “outfit,” i.e. there were people there dressed effortlessly cool, people who came straight from their business casual jobs, and people like me who changed into their “nice” brewery T-shirts and jeans.
Even after going to two #instabeerupCLT events, I still stuck mainly to speaking with the person who came with me. I can be Tina Belcher-level awkward when I meet people who I know mainly from social media and will probably say something borderline creepy about how much I like the pictures you post of your dog. However, my friend who came to #instayearup with me recognized an attorney who works in her field and, in the spirit of #instabeerupCLT, took the opportunity to introduce herself and talk with her for a few minutes.
If you’re a young professional or anyone trying to grow a business, #instabeerupCLT is a great way to network without “networking.” You show up, drink beer, recognize someone you know from social media or elsewhere, and strike up a conversation. You network in a much more organic, no pressure way, which is what appeals to me as well as to my friends. This isn’t a networking group, and there are no monthly lunches or social events where the same people show up with the same pitches. It’s new, it’s fun, and it’s a much more natural way to meet new people.
Search your preferred social media platform to find out where the next #instabeerup event will be. And if you see me there, feel free to come say hi to me!