Crude Bitters & Sodas - Rizzo

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It’s a North Carolina summer. It’s hot. 
Not just normal hot, but like “wading through a sulphuric swamp in the bowels of the Ninth Circle of Hell, where even Satan is sweatin’ like he popped a molly” hot. 
Given that stepping outside is like walking onto the surface of the sun, there are a few strategies we can use to mitigate the fact that we’re living in a place where clouds dare not set foot and and the air is thicker than syrup. 
We can A.) remain in/around a body of water, B.) wear minimal and/or protective clothing, C.) keep ourselves distracted, D.) make some cool drinks, or E.) just stay the hell inside with our AC and ignore the outside world. 

Thankfully, there are a lot of local businesses offering unique solutions that can synergize with my patented Five Strategies for Not Being Driven to Despair by North Carolina Summer Heat ©. 
Here are a few cool local businesses whose products can help us beat, ignore or even enjoy this late summer steaminess.


I’ve written about Brewsees and Jonathan Castellanos before. Jon is like that guy you knew in college who was always drunk on a porch or roof somewhere in a pinnie and salmon shorts, but who always had his stuff together and wasn’t a jerk. 
He’s a bro—big time—but he’s sharp. 
He’s managed to create a product that helps to not only shield our eyes from the harsh Carolina sun, but also drink enough to become impervious to the heat—his line of eyewear doubles as a bottle opener. The amazing part of this is they actually don’t look god awful and. In fact, the opposite is true. 
As the average half drunk and sunburned Brewsees customer might say, “that’s pretty chill.” 

Brewsees sunglasses that open beer cans


Stealz is an app that both gives users ways to save on visits to local businesses and allows participating businesses to use engaged users for promotion and social media marketing. It’s pretty smart. You go to a restaurant/bar/store, check in or take some photos, and earn deals and free stuff. Win win. 
What this has to do with my Patented Plan (™), is that it allows you to A.) get out of the heat into an air conditioned business, B.) drink and eat to distract yourself from the misery of what lies outside and the inevitability of climate change telling us that this heat will only get worse and C.) save some green. 
Check in, take photos, follow businesses on social media. Drink, eat and be merry. Save money. It’s simple. 

Stealz logo

Offline Media 

Offline Media is like what Yelp or other event advertising services would be if they didn’t have an awful red and yellow tinted UI. Also, if they had local people who want to have a good time and bring interesting people in posting the events. 
Also it doesn’t have serial Yelp reviewers, which are just the absolute worst. 
Offline advertises events in Nashville, Raleigh, Charlotte and Durham, and in many cases offers some solid promo codes to save on events you’re interested in attending. 
If you’re sick of Yelp super reviewer Jake Martin giving a two-star review and a paid-by-the-word Dickens-esque thesis on how his polenta (that he misspelled) wasn’t served at the right temperature and wanna find something to do to get your mind off the heat, check out Offline[] to scout fun stuff to do with your friends or partner. 

Offline Media Insta photos
Credit: Offline Media
Feelgoodz is based in Raleigh and makes flip-flops designed with comfort in mind, sourced from natural rubber producers. 
This is gonna be a short one. Jack Johnson has his own flip flop line with the local company, and he wrote Banana Pancakes‚ literally the coolest song ever written by the coolest dude ever. 
Enough said. Sustainable, comfortable, local and Jack Johnson said it was cool. 
Shoes are overrated and, while I love Tevas, they’re for leather-skinned dads on a beach drinking Miller Lite. Try some Feelgoodz instead when you feel like heading to the beach or boardwalk. 

How Feelgoodz and Jack Johnson will Build the Next Global Shoe Brand - 2

Mati Energy 

I’ll preface this by saying I have no connections to Mati Energy—I’ve never met founder Tatiana Birgisson, nor have I ever covered this company in my capacity as a writer. But Mati Energy is the bomb. I managed to singlehandedly survive on Mati's tea-based energy drink, street pizza and concert-priced PBR for three days while I covered Moogfest, and somehow I didn’t die. 

And you should take me seriously, because as a 24-year-old with high blood pressure that my doctor told me I should worry about, I think I’m an authority on caffeinated beverages. 
If you’re one of the readers here, I’m assuming you're in the demographic of a busy younger to middle-age person who could definitely use some caffeine to start the day. Maybe instead of drinking some hot coffee in a hot office in the morning and starting your pit/underboob sweat before it's 8 a.m., consider grabbing a cold Mati Energy to get your day going instead. 

Mati cans 2016

Slingshot Coffee 

Drinking some Starbucks iced coffee in the morning is pretty cool, especially if you post it on your (already bloated) Instagram feed. But you know what’s way cooler—drinking something local. Whether you care about supporting local industry or you just want your friends to think you do, sipping on some ice cold Slingshot Coffee is a good option. 
The Raleigh-based company sells coffee concentrates, ready to drink cold coffee and cold teas. The products can be found in stores across the country, but perhaps most notably in many Whole Foods stores across the state. 
Also, the barista-founder is a champion of the eastern division of the U.S. Brewers Cup if you still don’t have faith in Slingshot Coffee. It’s artisanal, local, well-designed and caffeinated. What else could you ask for? 

Slingshot Coffee products
Credit: Slingshot Coffee


This company’s goal is simple. Sometimes you want to go outside. Sometimes outside is wet. Sometimes you have things that you don’t want to get wet. 
Drycase has years of experience in the medical industry and decided its technology could be applied to both people who want to protect their things from the elements, and people who don’t want to die on/shortly after being on an operating table. 
The Wilmington-based outfit offers backpacks, phone cases, tablet cases, speakers, clothing, headphones and more that all share a common quality—they don't break when wet. 
If you’re trying to get outside and snapchat some dope photos of yourself white water rafting so your friends at work know how much better your life is than theirs, consider maybe getting a waterproof phone case from these guys. 
Drycase submerged iPhone
Credit: DryCase

Lawson Hammock 

Maybe you’re an insane person, and you feel like braving the heat for some good ole time out in nature. Check out Lawson Hammock. This company makes a portable camping hammock that can additionally function as a tent if your camp for the night lacks trees. 
The coolest part, however, is that it only weighs four pounds, which frees up some pack weight for the important things like beer and sandwiches. 

Lawson Hammock in trees
Credit: Lawson Hammock

Crude Bitters & Sodas 

I covered Crude Bitters & Sodas a few months back, and had a great time getting to know founder Craig Rudewicz.  
The company produces a line of small batch bitters and has gained national media and culinary attention for products like Rizzo bitters, infused with rosemary, grapefruit and peppercorn. 
Rudewicz has an interest in bitters that work with lighter liquors like gin or vodka, meaning you’re no longer stuck with heavier and sweeter drinks like Manhattans or Old Fashioneds. This allow for tasty, refreshing (and surprisingly affordable) summery drinks for you and your friends and you get to be that cool new-age dude who keeps artisanal bitters in his panty. Another win-win. 
Also, Rudewicz does bi-monthly cocktail classes, where you can join him for an afternoon of making and sipping on delicious cocktails. I’m convinced that this is the coolest first date idea in the Triangle this summer. Now I just need to somehow find a date (single ladies check my headshot at the bottom). 

Crude Bitters products
Credit: Crude Bitters

SEAL Innovation 

I know I’m supposed to be sweaty and miserable here, but it’s hard to be cynical about a product designed to keep kids safe around the pool, especially given just how frighteningly serious the issue really is
The company sells a wristband/monitor package that keeps track of how long children are submerged under water while wearing the band, and sends an alert to the monitor if it exceeds a certain time. 
It’s a smart idea, and while it’s a bit pricey at $400, if you’re a family with a pool or a penchant for beach trips it seems like a decent purchase for peace of mind. 

Seal Innovations SwimSafe logo

Canopy Lawncare 

Let’s be real for a second, mowing a lawn is one of the least enjoyable activities ever conceived. Weeding in the sun is literally the least enjoyable activity ever conceived. 
If you hate lawn and garden care as much as I do and/or don’t feel like having a heat stroke mulching your flower beds, give Raleigh-Based Canopy Lawncare a peek. The tech-oriented lawn-care startup is VC-backed—with an IDEA fund grant and investment from home-and-lawn giant Lowes. 
Don’t be that sweaty dude who goes out and rides his riding mower without his shirt on and tans his giant globular glistening golden belly in the hot Carolina sun. Check out Canopy Lawncare instead. You’ll be happy, and if you’re the aforementioned sweaty shirtless man, I’m sure your neighbors will be too. 

Canopy logo

So there it is. There’s only one month of summer left, but the heat is showing no signs of slowing down. Follow the Patented Plan(™), stay cool, stay positive and stay dry. 
If you read and follow the instructions, next time you end up sweaty, hopefully it’s just from watching Cops.