The Cooper River Brewing Company began with friendships.
Life's different paths brought three men together in Mount Pleasant, SC. For one, it was a corporate transfer. Another landed there after college, and the third was a Charleston native. They met on a golf course, where they enjoyed a few craft beers after each game...and became great friends.
Jamie Martin, Michael Gates and Dustin Pait spent a lot of time on back porches, cooking out with their families and loving life. They talked often about the idea of starting a brewery, and realized their personal strengths would blend into a great business partnership. Jamie has always enjoyed visiting breweries around the country, while Michael and his wife had a home brewing kit in their garage for years. Dustin had a nose for an excellent IPA. The character and vibe of Charleston were ideal for another brewery option. After ten years and a lot of thought, they decided to take the leap and pursue a dream.
Visits to a lot of breweries revealed a common thread: genuine friendships. Happy people working together yielded an atmosphere of comradery and some excellent beers. When Mark Fesche signed on as head brewer, he fit in perfectly. After college, Mark got the "calling" and moved to Oregon to work as a keg scrubber for Deschutes Brewing, working his way up to brewer. Mark is a Siebel Institute grad who has been the Head Brewer on brewhouses ranging from 10-50 barrels for almost 20 years.
They found an ideal location on Mechanic Street, and renovations are underway. They're converting a 7,500-square-foot warehouse into a brewery with a large tasting room and an outdoor courtyard area for that back porch feeling. Charleston is steeped in history, so it's only right that the guys insisted on American-made equipment. They're starting with a 15 bbl brew house, with plenty of room to expand to 30 bbl in the future. They're on track to open their doors later this summer.
As Mark says, the goal of Cooper River Brewing Company is clear: "Our approach to brewing will be to brew unique ales in traditional styles. In other words, each beer will be distinctive and flavorful, but follow a time-honored brewing process." They'll start with their own Blonde Ale, an IPA and a Stout, and move forward to other blends. Jamie, Michael, Dustin and Mark are four guys with a common dream who want to make excellent craft beers their neighbors will enjoy.
What a great way to make even more friends. Follow the Great "Brew" Heron on its journey!