When the whisper of snow is in the air, “The Photo” is not far behind.
If you live in Raleigh, you know the one. The cars strewn this way and that, tossed into ditches by some icy hand. One car is engulfed in flames, a thick column of black smoke rising in the distance. A woman talks into a cell phone with her back to the chaos.
The famous photo, snapped by Lindsay Webb, depicts the 2014 Raleigh ice storm that stranded dozens on Glenwood Avenue. Since then it’s gone beyond viral and over time has ascended into the realm of memedom. Photoshopped versions online feature agents of destruction like the armored walkers from “Star Wars” and the Michelin Man.
It’s even the inspiration for a beer.
Gizmo Beerworks owner Bryan Williams lived the Snowmageddon photo. The Raleigh brewery sits just off of Glenwood Avenue. And when the 2014 ice storm hit, Williams was among the hundreds caught in the crawling commute home. He considers himself lucky to have made it home in two hours.
The next year Gizmo unveiled Snowmageddon, a winter ale spiced with cinnamon, nutmeg and clove, inspired by holiday cookies and meant to pair with a few snowflakes outside.
“It seemed like a no-brainer for us,” Williams said of putting the image on a beer label. “It happened right outside our brewery, I was stuck trying to get up Glenwood.”
Gizmo has been pouring the beer since 2015 and in the past couple of years started packaging it in tallboy cans. The artwork continues to toast the snowstorm the South will never forget.
“To me half of drinking the beer is the artwork,” Williams said. “You buy with your eyes and taste with your mouth. It really puts you in the mood for a snow day.”
Williams remembers the 2014 storm as an under-hyped weather event, catching many in the Triangle unprepared for how quickly snow and ice seized up area roads. With snow, ice and rain in the forecast this weekend and talked about for days, he thinks people are ready for a snow day.
“With everyone sitting around waiting for it, that probably means it’s going to blow on by,” Williams said. “Either way, it’s a great day to sit at home and have a beer.”