Lexington brewpub celebrates one year, makes plans to ‘go green’
Kelly and John Clinger arrived in Lexington nearly 10 years ago and immediately knew it was a place they wanted to put down roots. Today, the couple are successful business owners running a restaurant in the heart of the town.
Old Mill Brewpub marked its first anniversary March 1 and by being welcomed into the Greater Lexington Chamber of Commerce with a ribbon cutting.
“We thank you for investing in the town and the Chamber,” said Randy Halfacre, chamber president and CEO.
As the name implies, Old Mill Brewpub is one of the variety of businesses that calls Lexington’s Old Mill home. The mill was converted for development for 1984, and the Clingers saw the potential to open a restaurant in the historic structure not long after they moved to town.
“The Lexington Old Mill was one of the first buildings we discovered in Lexington and we would walk through on the weekends because we loved the building so much,” Kelly Clinger. “We always said this would be a great place for a brewpub.”
The family owned and operated two pubs in Pennsylvania before moving south. John Clinger said becoming business owners in Lexington has proved to be a great move personally and professionally.
“Lexington has been wonderful to us both as a family and as a business,” he said. “Had we done it over, we’d still come here.”
One of the busiest people at Old Mill Brewpub is brewmaster Matt Rodgers.
“(My day) starts early and ends late,” he said.
Two batches of beer are made each day, and Rodgers will switch out flavors to suit the season about every three months. Three to four Old Mill Brewpub varieties are on tap at any time in addition to multiple other options.
Rodgers brings in nearly all of his ingredients from nearby Camden where he operates Hazelwood Organic Hop Farm. His brewing process at Old Mill Brewpub soon will be going “green” by using hydroelectric power.
“Our plan for the future is to be one of only a few breweries in the world to be completely green,” Kelly Clinger said.
Laban Chappell, who manages the Old Mill with his father-in-law, owner Ryan Condon, said using hydroelectric power was a long-term goal Condon had in mind when he purchased the building in 2004. SCE&G recently gave approval for usage of the generator.
“We are about three to four months (away from completion),” Chappell said.
Old Mill Brewpub will be the only business in the Old Mill using the hydro generator because of state regulations.
Kelly Clinger said she and John also are looking forward to expanding catering options and offering more events with beer. Their eatery is already the site of a weekly pub run.
The family thinks staying involved in the community is one reason Old Mill Brewpub has had a strong first year.
“We have the best location with the best service and food … we care about building relationships with our customers,” Kelly Clinger said. “We get a lot of compliments on the view of the water, the atmosphere of the old building, the beer selection, the food, the kind staff — and the owners (being) great people!”
Call 785-BEER (2337) for more information on Old Mill Brewpub.