What do you get when a guy with an engineering degree, a guy with a business degree and a woman with sociology and communications degrees together?
In the case of Will McCameron, Jeremy Caldwell and Meredith McCameron, you get a brewery.
Will, who graduated from Clemson University in 2008, is the president of upcoming Brewery 85 in Greenville. A longtime craft beer fanatic, Will has successfully been home brewing for years. When his career in engineering failed to fulfill him, Will took on a new job at the popular Thomas Creek Brewery in Greenville. It was there that the idea of turning his passion into his job truly began to take shape.
"We (Will and Jeremy Campbell, the company's vice-president) had always joked while we were home brewing that we should just go out there and start our own craft brewery, when I was working at Thomas Creek some really long and hard ours," Will said. "I loved the job and working for Tom, but it gets in your blood and you really love doing it after a while. It became a passion, and I knew at that point I wanted to brew the rest of my life."
"I figured, 'why not just go ahead and start my own place and work the long, hard hours for myself,'" Will added.
And it's not as if the McCamerons and Campbell are winging it. Will is a graduate of the Siebel Institute of Technology in Chicago and also boasts a World Brewing Academy International Diploma in Brewing Technology from the famous Doemen’s Academy in Bavaria, Germany. Campbell, who has a business administration degree from Lander, handles marketing, administration and other paperwork, on top of helping brainstorm new recipes, while Meredith McCameron is the front office manager.
Will said even in a frightening economy, the jump from engineer to brewer to business owner was an easy one. There's no lamenting over the career changes or what could have been - only a laser focus on what he has discovered is his true skill set.
"Well, to tell you the truth, I stunk at engineering. It was also a boring job," McCameron said. "My heart wasn't in it, and you always hear people complain about their jobs. There was no leap of faith required. It really came
down to I could brew good beer and I couldn't draw worth a durn."
Brewery 85, named after Interstate 85 to symbolize the company's goal of becoming a regional destination for craft beer lovers, will be located in the Greenville area, but a specific brewery site has not yet been determined. The company's initial offering represents the new brewery's identity and perspective in the new age of craft beer - an identity marked by a devotion to masterful attention to detail with a southern charm. The Southern Pale Ale is joined by a Yeoman's Brown Ale, (864) Weizen and Great Danish Ale in the initial brews.
"We'd like to be a journeyman brewery really. We want to provide something for people experiencing craft beer for the first time. We want to offer session able beers for tenured craft fans and we also want to have a few things for the intense beer nerds as well," Will said. "The South has a few craft breweries, but we want to really want to mesh ourselves with the region. We were born and raised here and we want to give it world class beer. Of course we have our year beers, but for our seasonals, we want to try to donate a portion of the proceeds to local charities like The Generous Garden or Hands on Greenville, things like that."
The company is currently finalizing a location for the brewery, and after that, equipment purchasing, licensing and the fun part - brewing - will be soon to come. Brewery 85 aims for a grand opening of late fall or early winter in 2013.
"Once we get this location hurdle cleared, the rest of the dominos will fall right over," Will said. "We're super psyched to be bringing more craft beer to our region."