NASCAR fans are used to seeing two-time Daytona 500 champion Michael Waltrip behind the wheel, but now he’s behind the bar. 

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The racing legend launched Michael Waltrip Brewing Co. in March 2020, and is now working towards his next venture of opening 100 taprooms across America over the next five years.  

When “The Big Money Show” co-host Jackie DeAngelis asked about his plans to “navigate” the devastating hardships the pandemic posed to the food and restaurant industry, he said: “We just had to pivot.”

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“We were in Arizona, and when COVID hit, we didn’t know whether to charge forward or get back on our heels,” Waltrip explained.  “We just took a break and decided to relocate to the southeast and we opened a wonderful historic brewery in Bristol, Virginia, where we serve 20 different of our beers… our brewmaster is constantly making something new and different. It’s been a huge success, and so we decided to expand down into Charlotte, North Carolina.”

An additional hurdle the Michael Waltrip Brewing Co. has faced is inflation and the rising costs of goods and services. Waltrip said his brewing company has been able to not only “survive,” but “persevere.”

“It’s a concern, obviously, but we’ve been able to not only survive but also to persevere through it all. And I think that’s going to make us tougher in the long run. And we have great food here in Charlotte,” Waltrip explained, Thursday. “

“We’re forecasted to do $1.6 million to $2 million at this location over the next year. And we’ve only been open for a couple of months, and we’re right on target to do just that. So things are going well. You got to be tough in these times and I think our team is just that.”

In wake of consumers’ unwavering revolt for Bud Light, co-host Brian Brenberg asked Waltrip how he plans to take advantage of the mass market opportunity. 

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“A cold beer should make everybody happy. It should never alienate anyone,” he explained. “I’ll tell you something that is most important to me. The thing that I love the most about this project [is] you see someone you don’t know drinking one of your beers with a smile on their face. That’s what it’s all about to me. Just having a good time.”

“We just want to have a good beer and have a good time and not be political about anything we do,” Waltrip concluded. 

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