Amid the roar of Interstate 85, nestled in the Piedmont woods between exits 32 and 34, you will find a small sanctuary known as Golden Grove Farm and Brew. Owned by Andrew and Sarah Brown, Golden Grove grew from Andrew’s homebrewing during his student days at Clemson.
Between classes and helping book gigs for the likes of The Marcus King Band, Andrew spent time brewing wine, cider and eventually beer with his buddies in a small apartment just off campus. The setup wasn’t much, but it was enough to plant the seed that would grow into one of the most rural breweries in the Upstate.
“I was working in the music industry [managing a band], and we were traveling a lot. That’s where I saw the craft beer boom,” Andrew says. “Anytime I went anywhere, I was hitting a brewery along the way — I just jumped right in as soon as I could.”
During his final semester, Andrew interned as an assistant brewer at Quest Brewing Co. in Greenville. After that, he wasted no time getting his own business started. His grandfather owned 100 acres of woodland in Piedmont that was barely being used. The home on the property had recently burned down, and the outbuilding there had been used, unbeknownst to the owners, as a poker house before the renter was busted for his illegal activities.
But Andrew and Sarah didn’t see the space as a beat-up old poker house. Instead they envisioned somewhere a small 30-gallon brewing system might be set up. They saw a disc golf course, a fire pit, a stage for local musicians to gather, taco nights on Tuesday and wings cooked on Wednesday.
All they had to do was clean it up a little.
“This place was rough, but once we got the junk cleared out and started to see what we had, it really came together,” Andrew says.
By 2015, the brewery was licensed. He and Sarah brought on Graham Temples Ph.D. ’16 as a brewer and Jackson Sparks ’08, head of social media and graphics.
Later that year, they were ready to start brewing a few batches of beer based on Andrew and Graham’s recipes. By spring 2016, Andrew and Sarah were opening on Fridays and Saturdays; today they are a seven-day-a-week operation, putting out 30 gallons with each batch and open to the public Monday – Saturday.
When we last spoke, Andrew was clearing away tons of lumber for an expansion project. It will offer more space to ramp up production and offer amenities to RV campers and even Airbnb possibilities. They are growing the disc golf course and outdoor stages and have plans for play areas for kids and dogs.
And all of it, Andrew says, had its genesis with the culture of Clemson and the opportunities they were afforded there.
“Clemson is in you,” he says. “The core four of us at Golden Grove are all Clemson alums, so we were family even before we were family, if that makes sense.”