Deciding to enter one of our concoctions into a home-brewing contest at a local beer festival was the thing that got us thinking like a business. Making 5-gallon batches of beer in the kitchen was fun, and we’d become plenty good at it, but sharing it in a public forum would require a respectable name for the beer and an equally respectable name for our little operation.
During our early beer club meetings and eventually at our bi-weekly brewing sessions, Chad would regale us with tales from the courtroom. We would revel in his anecdotes about the law and how he craftily applied it to the benefit of his clients. He would update us on the larger cases and solicit our advice on how to present certain material to juries in basic terms so that they might best comprehend it. In short order, the rest of us thought we were about three credits shy of a law degree. But what Chad taught us was that when rights have been violated, the law provides an avenue for recourse.
Put in the simplest terms, the courts grant a venue for the wronged to be made whole. Legally, anyone who has their rights violated has a readily available solution to restore that right so long as they are willing to fight for it. William Blackstone, an eighteenth century English jurist, judge and politician is credited with the following quote:
“It is a settled and invariable principle in the laws of England, that every right when with-held must have a remedy, and every injury its proper redress.”
In short, he was saying that for every right that is withheld or violated, one has a legal remedy to correct the wrong. Once the name Legal Remedy Brewing was mentioned, it was like we all knew it was right. The first logo was a mocked-up circle with the letters “LRB” inside it. The R had an X across the extended tail to achieve the prescription symbol. (The Rx symbol is derived from the Latin word “recipe,” and has been around for literally thousands of years). Adding the gavel to the logo came in later versions once we hired a dedicated designer. The company tagline, “justice never tasted so good,” was something Steve said as we were discussing t-shirt designs for the team.
We showed up at Grapevine’s Beertopia with shirts, stickers and other things all with our first logo affixed. The husband-and-wife team next to us at the competition was lamenting that they didn’t stand a chance when competing against us and our “marketing blitz.” We just laughed and said, “Yeah… It’s almost like we want to win or something, isn’t it?” And that’s just what we did.
The beer we entered was 10 gallons (a double-batch for us) of porter aged with bourbon barrels. We called it Privileged Porter. We gave it a tagline, too: “…exempt from the ordinary.” It clocked in at an ABV of 11.5%. It was strong but it was delicious. We took first place and beat 23 other home brewers in our first official event.
In 2013 Chad declared that LRB was going to be “the real deal,” and plans for a brewing system, buildings and an official Brewmaster were put into motion. We discussed building a real brewery but we wanted to test and perfect our recipes and brewing processes first. The idea of converting Chad’s detached two-car garage into a brewery was far-fetched at first, but after proper legal research we realized it could actually be a possibility. The applications for federal and state brewing licenses were approved in the early Summer of 2014. By this point we had made the full switch to brewing with grain instead of dehydrated malt extract, or DME. DME is easier to manage and significantly reduces the time required to brew a batch of beer, but the one-barrel system made brewing with grain a cost-effective way to leave DME behind and allowed us to experiment with an ever-broadening array of ingredients. A single-barrel system that was being used for test batches was fired up along with two fermenters and a bright tank. We moved the entire operation from the kitchen to the detached garage, making Chad’s garage not only a federally licensed brewery, but the only brewery in all of York County, SC.
It was time to seek out a certified Brewmaster. Through a mutual friend, we met Mike Krail, a long-time home-brewer and graduate of the American Brewer’s Guild. Mike shared our passion for great craft beer and had experience working on a large-scale brewing system. A contract with a distributor was signed and the operation was underway. On Friday August 15, 2014, Alibi Ale and two varieties of Sequestered Saison from Legal Remedy Brewing debuted at Fish Market restaurant in Baxter Village, Fort Mill, SC. With only word of mouth advertising about the event, we had roughly 200 people show up just to try our first beers. By the end of the night, all of our beer had been purchased. An article appeared in “The Herald” and online declaring Legal Remedy Brewing to be the first microbrewery in York County. It noted that the area around Rock Hill seemed “ready to support a microbrewery.” We couldn’t have agreed more.
In 2015 a vacant Rock Hill, SC car dealership was purchased and over the course of 8 months it was converted into a craft brewery and brewpub. With over 11,000 square feet of space, the brewpub presently houses a 17-barrel brewing system along with two smaller brewing systems which can collectively produce 10,000 barrels of beer per year. Legal Remedy Brewing beers, including Alibi Ale, Witness White IPA, Sequestered Saison and Pro Bono Porter are presently served at the brewpub alongside food that is just as crafty as the beer. In addition to on-site sales, Legal Remedy Brewing beers are available in restaurants and retailers throughout South Carolina.
So now we are crafting delicious beers that we enjoy drinking and sharing with those in our community. Legal Remedy Brewing – it certainly seemed like a wise and worthwhile endeavor, and we’ve had a lot of fun trying our hand at craft brewing. You’ll recall that for hundreds of years in this country there were only three types of legal remedies available. But with the introduction of Legal Remedy Brewing during the summer of 2014, we took the number of legal remedies available in the United States from three to four. Payment, Equity, Declarations….and now, our beer. And the truth is, justice never tasted so good.