Holliday Brewing gearing up for soft opening later this year at Drayton Mills
By Adam Orr
When it’s time to get the show on the road, the Holliday brothers aren’t ones to wait around.
For years Jim and John Holliday’s nano-brewery was only real in their heads, on paper and in small test batches of beer they’d brewed and experimented with in their homes. But that’s all about to change.
In less than six weeks, Holliday Brewing will be a reality at Drayton Mills in Spartanburg as the pair piece together their new operation ahead of its winter soft launch.
“I don’t think I’ve been this excited about anything in my entire life,” co-owner John Holliday said. “We’re ready to get this thing up and running.”
Over the past week, John Holliday shrugged off a nasty cold, loaded a U-Haul truck down with nano-brewery equipment at his San Diego home and made the more than 2,300-mile cross country trip to the Hub City.
“It felt like it rained across the entire state of Texas,” he laughed. “But I’m just ready to get going.”
Less than 12 hours after John Holliday arrived in town, he and Jim were lowering the first pieces of equipment — in this case, a commercial-grade air compressor — by crane into their brewery.
Next up? The actual brewery components and cold room equipment will be installed as contractors renovate the brewery and tap room spaces, refinish and protect its hardwood floors and install a new polished concrete bar top.
“It’s moving along exactly as we’d hoped,” Jim Holliday said.
The road to Spartanburg
The idea behind Holliday Brewing dates back years. They watched and enjoyed the explosion of breweries in sunny San Diego, and John Holliday started his own experiments in the art and craft of beer brewing more than a decade ago.
Starting with small batches and a love for IPAs — an India pale ales is a hoppy, flavorful pale ale — John Holliday began to piece together his own recipes with colorful names based on the people and places their family loved.
The brother’s Fire Station 4 amber ale, for instance, is named for the firefighters who saved John Holliday’s home in San Marcos during the city’s massive wildfires in 2014.
“We had to evacuate our home because this fire was just burning all around,” John Holliday said. “We went down the hill and we could see it coming toward the house. We thought it was going to go up right in front of our eyes. And then all of a sudden we saw this huge water cannon just go to work. We would have lost it without those guys, so naming a beer after them made sense.”
John Holliday has also spent years working in manufacturing environments, including San Diego’s White Labs, among the area’s biggest manufacturers of yeast for the craft beer industry.
The road to Spartanburg likely began six years ago, when Jim Holliday moved with his family to Fort Mill as part of a job transfer.
If John is bringing the wealth of brewing experience, Jim and his wife Carin Holliday are bringing business and management experience to the table.
They said they settled on Spartanburg and Drayton Mills because of the nascent, yet growing, craft brewery scene. Some 90 minutes south of one of the East Coast’s craft brewing meccas in Asheville, the pair think the Upstate could one day share, and perhaps rival, that success.
Where it goes from here
The Holliday brothers said they’ll have more than 20 craft beers on tap, likely as many as 18 of John Holliday’s own creations and a handful of selections courtesy of other Upstate breweries. Local wines will also be available.
They’ll launch with perhaps a dozen brews when the brewery goes live later this year as a way to test the waters.
They said they’re excited at the opportunity Drayton Mills and Spartanburg present them. While they won’t offer more than a handful of bar staple snacks, brewery customers will be able to order up delivery options from nearby restaurants, including the Rick Erwin’s The Standard, Pi-Squared Pizza and an as-yet unrevealed Mexican restaurant on site at Drayton Mills.
“We also won’t have growlers, but we will have a crowler machine,” Jim Holliday said. “You’ll be able to walk out with big 32-ounce cans with all the labeling. Makes things easier on everybody.”
The pair said the brewery could host its soft launch in late November or the first weeks of December.
“As soon as possible is the plan,” John Holliday said. “We’ve waited a long time for this.”