If you’re going to open a brewery in an historic part of town, why not give your beer an historic name?
That is precisely what Zack Jones, owner of CottonTown Brew Lab, did when he purchased the building for his craft brewery in 2015. Working class families have lived and worked in CottonTown for generations, providing the work force for the textile mills and businesses in a portion of Columbia.
Jones, a software engineer by training, has thrown himself into the brewer’s art. Two conical fermenters sit at the heart of the operation. “This is where the magic happens,” head brew master, Brandon Evans, said. “We can ferment 1,000 gallons in each of these tanks. We do kegs for bars and restaurants, and growlers (64 oz. containers) for individuals.”
According to Evans, their brewery does not focus on canned or bottled beer. “When compared with kegs and growlers, cans are just too labor-intensive and don’t yield a decent profit,” he explained.
CottonTown currently distributes its beers to different restaurants and venues across the Midlands. However, Evans mentioned that an expansion is planned for the future. “Within five years,” Evans said, “We hope to be throughout the Carolinas and into Georgia.” Also included in plans for growth is a kitchen for serving food. Presently, the brewery uses the services of a number of food trucks.
Popular brews offered at CottonTown include a pale wheat ale (Bull Street Wheat), an IPA (Carolina Crush), and an American Porter (TrainsPorter). And for those who want something out of the ordinary, Indah Coffee Stout stands ready to fill the bill. Indah Coffee on adjacent Sumter Street has collaborated with CottonTown to produce a truly remarkable, and drinkable, product.
CottonTown Brew Lab is located at 1223 Franklin St. Beer Garden hours are Monday through Friday from 4 to 9 p.m., Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Sundays from 1 to 8 p.m.