MOORESVILLE – This month, Mark Moore is celebrating his fifth year of owning and operating Ultimate Ales in Mooresville Town Square.
Before he opened the store, Moore had no experience as a bartender – just a love of craft beer and a dream of escaping a corporate job.
Now he said he feels like bartending at Ultimate Ales has given him a large group of friends and a chance to help his customers try beers that are outside their comfort zone.
Mooresville Citizen: You graduated from Mooresville High School. Do you have any memories of growing up here?
Mark Moore: I remember when we moved here in 1984, I was in eighth grade, and it just seemed like Mooresville was, obviously, a lot smaller. And it seemed like everybody knew everybody. But it’s certainly changed over time. … I have a lot of customers that moved here from New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio. So yeah, it’s good to have that mix of people who have come over here. And I think eventually it will change Mooresville from a bedroom community to having its own nightlife. Because right now it seems like Mooresville shuts down at 9 o’clock. And that’s a complaint that I hear from a lot of folks that moved here from out of town.
MC: Why did you decide to open Ultimate Ales?
MM: I’ve been into craft beer since the ‘90s. I had a lot of friends that were still holding strong to the Bud, Miller, Coors stuff. And I was able to get all of my friends and neighbors to switch over to craft beer. And everyone knew that I didn’t like my corporate job. So with a lot of encouragement from friends and family, I decided to make the leap (into) making it my business. And it’s been fun. I mean, to me, all of the different customers I’ve had for five years now, I consider them all friends. So we’ve got a nice little community thing going here. A big family type vibe.
MC: What’s a misconception people have about bartending?
MM: I get it all the time. People will want to work, and all they see is pulling handles. The glamorous part is just pulling the handles. But they don’t understand that if a keg kicks, you’ve got to go back there and find the next keg to put up. You’ve got to run the cleaning solution through the line, take the spout apart and clean it. Take out the trash and cardboard. … They don’t see all of that non-glamorous stuff and don’t realize that that even happens.
MC: What is the hardest part of serving people when you’re busy?
MM: Because samples are available, everybody wants a sample. And that will tend to slow things down and get you bogged up. … I guess, with 16 draft selections, it’s hard to make a quick decision. So having that variety, it’s a good thing (and) bad thing. And the purpose of having this is for people to experiment. So as a bartender, you want to try to get them outside of their comfort zone, to try new things.
MC: What’s your favorite part of bartending?
MM: Just the interaction with the customers. There’s so many regulars that come in here on a daily basis. It’s always good to look forward to seeing them. And they do their part in helping welcome new faces as well. And that’s what I meant by having that family type atmosphere. Everybody recognizes the new faces and goes out of their way to make them feel comfortable here as well. Which, in turn, keeps them coming back. … When you set out to do something like this, you know what you want to accomplish and the vibe that you want to have available, but it’s hard forcing it to happen. So that’s what’s been really cool about being behind the bar is watching it all evolve and seeing all of the customers that have never met before but now they’re all good friends. And as a part of that, I feel like I have 200 new friends.