Hurricanes shine spotlight on NC-themed products with Homegrown Series

Beer, food, artists and musicians will be featured at eight games

RALEIGH — The Carolina Hurricanes opened their 2016-17 season with a six-game road trip, made possible by the North Carolina State Fair which is held annually in Raleigh right around the start of the NHL season.But rather than gripe about the resulting 1-3-2 start, the team is holding a statewide showcase of its own with a new promotion that features the best of the Old North State.The Homegrown Series, a eight-game promotion of North Carolina musicians, breweries, artists and food, will feature different products and creative efforts from across the state.”We want to showcase what we think makes this place great to live,” Hurricanes vice president of marketing Doug Warf said at a Nov. 2 preview of the series.The Hurricanes’ in-house catering company, VAB Catering, created eight N.C.-familiar dishes for each of the games in the series, from pimento grilled cheese to a State Fair-inspired bacon cheeseburger on a maple glazed doughnut.But the real treat is in the North Carolina-based partners the team has in the venture. Eight musical acts, six breweries and four clothing companies will join artists to create eight Carolina-flavored night of hockey.The musical acts — which touch every corner of the musical spectrum, including hip-hop collective Kooley High, low-fi indie dreamers The Love Language and folksy country artist Christiane — will perform five-minute sets during each intermission of their game.Also featured at each game will be exclusive T-shirts designed by four local clothing companies with a Hurricanes and North Carolina theme. Each of the companies — House of Swank, Oak City Collection, Porchfly and Runaway — will be featured at two of the eight games, with a different design at each game. Only 144 of the shirts will be made, selling for $30.House of Swank’s John Pugh previewed his first design, a Pong-themed Hurricanes shirt, at the launch — and it even includes a Hartford Whalers Easter Egg if you can figure it out.”It’s a great concept, and the Hurricanes have just been super, super crazy behind it,” Pugh said of the Homegrown Series.Five breweries and a cidery will be featured during the eight games, including two dates where Bold Rock Cider and Appalachian Mountain Brewing will team up to offer their creations.”We already have some beer here in the stadium for Canes games, and we’re located in Boone,” Kevin Tyndall, N.C. sales manager for Appalachian Mountain Brewing, said. “And they gave us a shout and said, ‘Hey, we’d like you to be a part of it,’ we said absolutely.”Beer and cider will be sold for the normal PNC Arena $11 craft beer price, but patrons will also have the option of getting a flight of the different available options (any combination of four six-ounce pours) for the same price. It will be available at the usual craft beer stands.The Hurricanes have also teamed with Artspace in Raleigh to identify eight local artists who will create game posters for each of the Homegrown Series dates. The first 1,000 fans to come to the concourse out of Section 108 prior to those games will receive an exclusive poster.The Homegrown Series will kick off at the Hurricanes’ Nov. 18 home game against the Montreal Canadiens with dates every month of the season (twice each in January and March) until the eighth event April 8, when the Hurricanes will host St. Louis. Seven of the eight nights will be on Friday or Saturday, with one (Jan. 8 vs. Boston) on a Sunday.Warf — who is also the executive director of the Kids ‘N Community Foundation, the charitable wing of the Hurricanes — hopes this is the beginning of a tradition with the Hurricanes and state’s small business community and artists.”We hope this is Year 1 of a many-yeared program,” he said. “We hope this is the walk phase and next year we’re running with more and more items.”While the Hurricanes should benefit by getting more people to the games for these eight dates — it’s worth noting the opponents are some of the more popular dates, including visits from the Penguins, Maple Leafs and Blackhawks — Warf said it’s really a celebration of North Carolina’s local business community.”This program’s not about the Hurricanes. It’s about spotlighting our talented local artists and vendors,” Warf said.