Through the fabulous American Advertising Federation of Greenville’s April TWIST event, I recently had the opportunity to tour and taste at Thomas Creek Brewery. This is a micro-brew company located in Greenville, South Carolina, celebrating their 15th anniversary in 2014.
I started with the tasting and, true to form, ordered the official flight with five samples. Of the beers on the market, I tasted the Class Five IPA and Dockside Pilsner. The best part was that we got to also taste beers that were seasonal, small batch and experimental. Yes, we actually had behind the scenes treatment right in their front showroom (because that’s the kind of guys they are), and I tried some rare varieties that ended up being my favorites – a crazy chocolate-y, nutty, high gravity stout, a full-bodied hybrid ale and a honeysuckle saison. The latter was a brand new mix created when a local biologist they work with was able to germinate yeast from honeysuckle plants.
Then we received a tour from owner and general manager Bill Davis, a man who helped build this company from the ground up still there to humbly to point out equipment, impart history and wisdom and share the vision for their future.
As for history… Thomas Creek is the oldest beer brewery in the city. They were founded on the solid principle of quality. They use an all-grain brewing method that costs a little more money and energy but lends the most consistent and traditional products, so they don’t care. My former advertising agency The Bounce Agency was responsible for designing their logo. Bill said, “We wanted something simple and classic but not childish.” And as he tells it, it took only two rounds of attempts for the easy-going gentlemen at TC to see they had a timeless look locked down.
As for the future… Thomas Creek is growing. Their beers are currently distributed to 17 states in the U.S., and they have broken international waters, now selling in Sweden and figuring out all the wondrous logistics with shipping and maintaining the fine craft beer that they refuse to compromise on. They are planning to expand their facility over the course, adding (I believe, if I wasn’t lost in the beer-jargon) 14 120-barrel fermenters in a special warehouse section. They are hand bottling now but will surely go to an automated system in order to serve demand at the new size.
I thoroughly enjoyed my trip to Thomas Creek Brewery and from here intend to seek out their beers and events and just plain tell everyone I know what good is happening out on Piedmont Highway. I love to see a business holding true to ideals and being honest, saying “our beers are not for chugging, they are for the enthusiast”. Their slogan is “Sink the Status Quo.” Okay. Done.