Westbrook Brewing head brewer Ryan Marcom and head cellerman Matthew Smith are utilizing unused tanks at the Mount Pleasant brewery to craft their own small-batch beer under the name Free Reign Brewing Co., a separate entity that now distributes in the Charleston area thanks to a new partnership with Advintage Distributing. So far, Marcom and Smith have brewed six different beers and they’re planning more small-batch, experimental brews in the future.
“We like our job and everything, but we just want to experiment a little on our own,” said Smith, adding that they spend the weekends brewing Free Reign beers. “We approached [Westbrook owner Edward Westbrook], and it was really nice of him to let us do it.”
“It gives us a creative outlet. We get to go in and do our own thing that we’re creating and selling,” Marcom added. “Edward’s been awesome with the whole thing.”
So far Marcom and Smith, who have both worked at Westbrook since 2014, have sold beers like Cannonball, an 8% double IPA, and Tidal Pool, a smoothie sour collaborative IPA brewed with Greenville’s The Eight Street Brewing Co. Beers are sold online for pickup at Westbrook, and the Advintage partnership will place 16-ounce cans of Free Reign in select grocery stores, bars and restaurants.
The duo isn’t ruling out opening a physical brewery in the future, but for now, they plan to focus on increasing Free Reign production.
“We ultimately decided that this was the best step to take before going that big,” Marcom said. “I think the next step is just to do slightly larger batches at Westbrook.”