Countdown to Beer Maps + the Printing Process

The maps are getting closer and closer to being available in our online shop! Yesterday, we visited Meredith-Webb in Burlington to approve the maps as they came off the press. It was so rewarding to see the (almost) final product - an idea and a whole lot of research and work over the course of nearly a year, now transformed to a real, tangible object. Such a mental payoff!

During the remainder of the week at Meredith-Webb, the maps will continue through their process of ink curing, paper cutting, folding, binding, and boxing. We will be pick up the maps next Tuesday, 10/6, and start readying them for their debut in our online shop by the end of the week!

Richard Green with Time Warner Cable News was there with us yesterday to film the printing process. Once this piece airs, it will be available in our press section. In the meantime, this is what the map goes through during this part of the process...

 


The Printing Process

1. After final proofs were approved first thing yesterday morning, an aluminum plate of the map was made for the offset lithographic printing process. (This technique originally started in the 1700s on limestone plates!)

2. The morning of printing, our sheets of paper were cut from 300+ pound rolls that came straight from the paper factory. We actually have two different types of paper for the map — a thinner sheet for our folded maps and a thicker cover stock for the posters.

3. Custom inks are mixed and tested on a device that simulates the offset lithographic process and a series of presses are set up with each ink and our final paper coating.

4. A printing technician adjusts the colors and ink weight to match the proof we approved. To do this, the press sheet goes on a special table for colors to be scanned, read and computed. There are other checks in place using different devices to test the alignment, bleed of the ink, etc. to insure that everything is in the correct place once the maps are trimmed and folded. 

5. Adjustments are made and the press runs until the ink levels are constant, creating a consistent look.

6. The map comes out as a double sheet, so once half the run has gone through, the paper is flipped and is printed on the back side.

7. After the ink has cured, the maps move into the trimmer, cutting them down into two separate sheets each, and trimming off the edges.

8. The maps then move into the folder, which has been set up especially for our number and series of folds. This map has both accordion folds and a final roll fold. It moves through a different mechanism of the folder to create each fold.

9. The maps are grouped and bound with paper bands into sets. Meredith-Webb makes custom boxes to hold the folded maps and flat poster sheets. There is a machine for everything!

10. We borrow a truck and drive it to Meredith Webb where a pallet of maps is lowered from an opening in the floor to the truck bed in the loading dock underneath.

11. We spend hours hauling in box upon box of maps and stacking them up for storage until they ship out.

Almost there!

Amanda + Paul

NC Beer Map Coming Soon!

We've been working on our next big adventure over here at EDIA - The Great NC Beer Map! This is something we've wanted to do since the beginning and a map we've been asked to create I can't even tell you how many times. Is there really anything that goes better with BBQ than beer?! We don't think so. It's the perfect follow-up to our first project and the ultimate glovebox companion to The Great NC BBQ Map

We approached this map just as we did the BBQ map - thinking of all the questions we and others ask before hitting the road and then providing the answers with the map. This map will fill in the information gaps out there, telling you everything you'll need to know about each craft brewery in the state and a lot of context about the art and science of brewing to help you really understand and appreciate what's inside the glass, once you get there.

To be sure you're one of the first to get your hands on this map, hop on over to our Kickstarter page to pre-order and check out the other exclusive rewards and experiences we have available there. You have until July 24 to help fund the project so we can take The Great NC Beer Map to print!

5 BBQ Adventures for Spring

As we're being teased with 60 degree sunshine, Paul and I have felt inspired to start drafting our Spring road trip wish list. Get prepared for warm-weather wanderlust and start routing your own travels around the state! If you need a little inspiration, plan a trip around one of these 5 NC BBQ restaurants that offer more than just pulled pork.

Our trusty road   trip companion,  Clementine, enjoying a helping of hushpuppies.

Our trusty road trip companion, Clementine, enjoying a helping of hushpuppies.

Sim's Country BBQ | Granite Falls, NC: Listen to live bluegrass, watch the cloggers, and after you fill up on their BBQ buffet, cut a rug on the dance floor.

Barnyard BBQ & Flea Market | Peachland, NC: Use your BBQ fuel to shop the flea market. Bet you can find something pig-themed as a memento for your trip!

CJ's Bar-B-Cue | Cleveland, NC: Get there on Thursdays for live gospel music in the restaurant featuring different groups from around the area.

The Fire Pit | Wake Forest, NC: The restaurant parking lot is transformed into a car show on the 4th Saturday of every month. Dream about which car you'd like to take on your next BBQ road trip.

The Blue Note Grill | Durham, NC: This spot has live music every night and features everything from jazz to blues to bluegrass to country -- something for every musical interest.

For details on each restaurant’s location and style of BBQ, refer to your copy of The Great NC BBQ Map. If you don’t have one yet, grab one here.

BBQ Touring: Top 5 Tips

With Labor Day coming up, what better time is there than a 3-day weekend to plan a BBQ tour? Pick an area around NC -- whether it's across the state or in your own backyard -- and spend the day sampling some of state's finest. Make barbecue more than just a meal -- turn it into an adventure!

Between researching for The Great NC BBQ Map and putting together trips with friends and family, Paul and I have done our fair share of BBQ touring. I think the most restaurants we've eaten at in one day is five, though we've heard tales of people doing more! We put together a few tips along the way that will help you plan your own BBQ tour and keep you from entering into a food coma.

1. Grab your copy of The Great NC BBQ Map and plan your route. Will you be touring while traveling or just day-tripping from home? You have two choices here: 

(A) Pick an area of high concentration and focus there, hitting multiple stops in one town/city/county. We like this option if you want to hit 2-3 places just for lunch or dinner and not plan an entire day around BBQ. Two or three stops can easily be done back-to-back for a single meal.

(B) Start in one area and end up in another, peppering barbecue into your route, along with other stops. We like this option for making a day of it, whether traveling or staying close to home. By spreading out your stops, you can get in more restaurants -- easily 5, and more if you're a real thrill-seeker. For your first meal, begin at a BBQ joint that starts serving early, so that you can have BBQ for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. In between restaurants or groups of restaurants, do some sightseeing and check out more of the area you're touring. (A walk in the park or through town is not a bad idea!)

2. Share! Do not attempt to eat five barbecue sandwiches in one day by yourself! You only need to get a taste of everything, so just split a sandwich (and hushpuppies, corn nuggets, Brunswick Stew, or whatever classic sides you want to sample) and move on to the next stop. Depending on the number of stops you have and how many people are with you, you can go halvsies or split four ways.

3. It's easiest to compare the 'cue if you order the same thing from each restaurant. We like to go classic with a barbecue sandwich and an order of hushpuppies. We go for pulled or chopped, whichever the restaurant specializes in. And we take it as it comes, with whatever slaw or sauce they add on.

4. If you want to rate the restaurants to determine which type of BBQ you like the best, decide on your criteria ahead of time. What factors will you be considering? Ideas include: level of smoke, moistness of meat, the chop/texture, bun, slaw, sauce, sweet tea, etc. Some people even take it as far as rating a restaurant on its napkins and ice! Come up with a list, and have fun with it!

5. Take notes and photos. It's hard to keep up with all that barbecue, so have a way of remembering your stops! The Great NC BBQ Map has a section for note-taking, so bring along something to write with. If you snap pics, share them on The Great NC BBQ Map Facebook pageTwitter, or Instagram, with hashtag #NCBBQMAP. We'd love to see your travels, and we'll repost some of our favorites.