Carol Waggener – Bold Missy

In order to leave the comfort of a large company and step out on your own, there are a few things you must first possess. Having a background in sales and marketing, start-up capital, and a great business plan are important, but they won’t get you anywhere without courage, tenacity, and boldness. Carol Waggener has all of these elements. She earned the nickname “Bold Missy” from her very first boss. Each morning when Carol arrived, he would shout to the entire office, “Lookout, here comes Bold Missy!”

Throughout her career as an analyst and sales and marketing professional, Carol has continued to live up to her pseudonym. She has not only taken that Bold Missy spirit into her new career as a brewery owner, her brewery has brought that spirit to life in each of their beers. Bold Missy Brewery in Charlotte’s NoDa district is churning out high quality, well-loved beer styles, each named after a famous Bold Missy in history. From their year-round offerings, such as Solo Flight American Brown Ale celebrating Amelia Earhart, to their seasonal beers like Self Portrait, a fresh hop IPA honoring Frieda Kahlo, each beer tells another part of the story of feminine boldness at its best. And while the beers are busy telling the stories of Bold Missies that have made waves on the global scale, Carol and her team are busy making their own waves in the beer scene.

“We have a unique work environment here,” Carol said of her largely female staff. “Lybbi [Carol’s niece, tap room boss and hype woman] is 26. I call her my secret weapon millennial. Heather [keg slinger and phone ringer] is 27. Carli [Head Brewer] is 27. They each bring a unique personality to their roles, but it all works together.” Carol also appreciates her younger staff keeping her up to date on consumer trends.

As a team they work to create a positive environment that celebrates the accomplishments of women, while being open and inviting to Bold Misters as well as the Missies. While their day-to-day clientele is a healthy mix of men and women, Carol says that she’s been surprised at the number of women’s groups that have asked to hold meetings at the brewery. She may not have planned to have a space that attracts these kinds of groups, but as she put it, “If you focus on making great beer in a fun environment with a unique brand, then everyone will want to come. Most people know who these great women are, but a few have sent in suggestions for women that we haven’t created a beer for yet. They are really engaged with what we’re doing here,” Carol says.

Carli Smith just joined the team as Head Brewer in December 2017. Prior to making the move, she was Head Brewer at Rock Bottom Brewing in San Diego. “I’m really excited to join the Bold Missy team. When I met Carol for the first time, I immediately felt very at ease and comfortable. Bold Missy has a very collaborative, inclusive environment, which is a dream for a brewer. Right away I could see myself working alongside them in building the Bold Missy brand. Leaving my hometown of San Diego and its booming beer industry was scary, but the opportunity to grow with Carol and Bold Missy was too good not to take the leap.”

For Carol, it was the craft beer industry’s collaborative spirit that took the most getting used to. Having come from the corporate world where secrets were held close to the chest and competition was cut-throat, Carol said that she’s happy to adjust. “I’ve embraced it. It was so stressful to hate people. It’s less stressful to love them.”

We wrap up our conversation as Carol switches gears from cleaning a tank in the brewery to preparing for her shift in the kitchen. I asked her if there’s anything in the brewery that she doesn’t do. “Nope!” she says with a giant smile. “If I’m going to ask someone else to do something, then I’m going to do it as well.”

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Anita Riley is the Cellar Tech and Assistant Brewer at Lonerider Brewing Company in Raleigh and serves as Co-Chapter Leader of The Pink Boots Society’s Eastern NC Chapter. Her book, Brewing Ambition, available at, benefits The Pink Boots Society’s Scholarship Fund, which encourages, inspires, and assists women beer professionals through education. She is a Certified Beer Server Cicerone and studied Brewing, Distillation, and Fermentation at AB Tech in Asheville and Rockingham Community College in Reidsville, NC. You can find her blog Brewing Up a Storm, which focuses on women in the beer industry, at Anita is a native to North Carolina.

Anita Riley
Written by Anita Riley