If you take a short drive up Clements Ferry Road, and turn right into a small business complex, you will find the brewing gem, Indigo Reef Brewing. With a spacious and welcoming patio as well as a taproom with a beautiful bar made of recycled glass,it offers an inviting setting.
With over 10 tap lines, it’s easy to find something here to suit your palate. Beers like the Brewster creation Siren’s Song Pale Ale, Crunchy Peach Kettle Sour and our seasonal favorite — Butter Go Nuts Chocolate and Peanut Butter Porter — pair well with several in-house kitchen options. With live music on the weekends and weekly events, the taproom has plenty to share.
Owners Chris and Nicole Ranere were passionate homebrewers when co-editor Kyle Wallace first met them in 2018 at a gathering of Lowcountry Libations Home Brew Clu8. The brewery was already under construction, opening in June 2019.
Dedicated to brewing with sustainability, cold water is used to knock out the beers but recaptured in its hot liquor tank to be reused on the next brew. Empty grain bags are reused as trash bags. Spent grain from the brews goes to local farmers to feed animals.
“We realize our actions won’t singlehandedly reverse the damage already done, but we operate under the mindset that every little bit helps,” Ranere said.
HOPS sat down for a Q&A with Indigo Reef.
Where did the name Indigo Reef come from?
Chris Ranere: Nicole and I are both scuba divers and love how calm and relaxing diving is. We wanted to pull this through to our beers and taproom and thought “reef” would be a perfect way to do it. We also wanted to include a local component to the name without saying “Charleston Reef,” so we decided to go with Indigo as it was a cash crop used in the lowcountry.
What is your history as a brewer?
CR: Nicole and I started out as homebrewers many moons ago. When we toyed with the idea of opening a brewery, a brewing assistant position opened up at Two Blokes, and I took it. Matty [Symons] was amazing and helped me learn the production elements of brewing on the “big” system.
You have a strong female team. How did Jen Skoy Krizan come into your concept?
CR: Funny story — At one of the brewery’s anniversary parties, Jen and I were talking about diving, beer and all the fun things. She mentioned that she would love to work at IRBC, and I said that we would love to have her. Given how loud the music was (and how many beers we had had) we had to regroup the next day to make sure we were on the same page (Ha!). She has been a great asset to IRBC. When our previous Taproom Manager left, Jen stepped in to fill the position until we could find a new taproom manager (Tessa). All of our accounts and reps from Lowcountry Craft love working with Jen as well! (Krizan is the leader of the local Girls Pint Out Club. IG @charlestongpo)
What are your long-term plans for the brewery?
CR: From the beginning, Nicole and I have always said slow and steady growth is the key to success. As Clements Ferry Rd continues to grow we are sure that we will see more people in the taproom. Our short term next steps are to get a few more fermentation tanks, increase our distribution footprint and also to continue to grow our brewery family. My long-term dream is to open a small brewery on one of the barrier islands that focuses on tiki-drinks and fun tiki-themed beers.
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