2019 Trailblazer: Zackary Cranford
Zackary Cranford, 28
Foothills Distillery/Standard Oyster Co./The Charolais Steak House, Hickory
After graduating from N.C. State’s Poole College of Management, Cranford founded Foothills Distillery in 2014. The distillery, which uses grain grown less than 7 miles from its campus, is known for producing the first legal bourbon whiskey made in North Carolina, Seventeen Twelve. Cranford, who grew up in Burke County’s Icard, then opened Standard Oyster Co. in 2016, relying mainly on N.C. fishermen and seafood farmers to fill much of its menu. He is working with his family to revitalize and reopen Hickory’s oldest steakhouse, The Charolais Steak House, by the end of the year. “It’s a surreal feeling to see customers enjoy their experience at Standard and to watch bar professionals all over North Carolina craft cocktails with my Seventeen Twelve Bourbon,” Cranford says. “I’m thankful and grateful for our customers that allow me to do that.” Foothills Distillery liquor is sold in ABC stores in North Carolina, Michigan and Washington, D.C.