GSU student heads local brewery

Photo: Andy Morales

Armond Snowden

As Eagle Creek Brewing Company approaches its one-year anniversary serving customers in the Statesboro area, the trailblazing business is gearing up for an even better sophomore showing.

Georgia Southern University student, Cole Brown, has been working as the brewmaster at Eagle Creek since its inception. Brown, senior communication major, started working on a home brew and decided soon after that brewing was what he wanted to do with his life. As brewmaster, all recipes and brews are his, and his work is making quite a splash in the brewing world. Eagle Creek and it’s brews have already won high-profile awards and is catching the attention of brewers and restaurants around the southeast.

Q: What made you want to get into brewing?

Brown: Being at Georgia Southern. I bought an empty keg shell and it ended up being a homebrew keg shell and I really didn’t want to return it so I was stubborn and just decided to make my own beer. I really didn’t really like my college major that much, so I was like I have to figure something out, I have to do something so I was like I’m going to make beer. So I started working on business plans, started entering competitions, I automated the system. I met Franklin, the primary investor in the company, and we started from there.

Q: How did your experience as a GSU student prepare you for a job at Eagle Creek?

Brown: Well, I took some classes like microbiology and that was definitely a good stepping stone for the aseptic technique required to run a brewery. I am a communications major and while at first this was all nitty gritty science and engineering, now I have employees and people. It’s not so much what I’m doing, it’s how to teach other people how to do it. Communications has definitely helped a lot with that. If you have employees you have to know how to tell them what to do.

Q: As a young start up brewing company, what challenges has Eagle Creek faced in getting noticed in the brewing scene on more than a local level?

Brown: Well in the state of Georgia we have to use distributors to move our beer. We cannot directly sell beer to a customer so we sell to a distributor who then takes it to the customer. Distributors tend to have their own clients already so a distributor will carry our beer and they’ll carry Bud Light so whenever they go to a place that carries Bud Light they’re like “do you also want Eagle Creek?” We’ll sign on different distributors for different areas so right now we’re in St. Simons, Vidalia, Augusta, Savannah, Statesboro, Columbus, Valdosta and a bunch of other Southeast and South Georgia [areas]. We’ll be in Atlanta and Athens at the beginning of the year.

Q: Being in such close proximity to a college campus, it seems natural that you would be very involved in your target demographic. What community events does Eagle Creek offer?

Brown: Any time there’s any kind of beer event we’re obviously there. There’s the Moonlight Magnolia thing, it’s like a tasting at Magnolia Park that’s right next to campus. Then there’s the Blues Festival in town and they’ll have beer. And then we’ll do events. We just released our cans to the public so we had a can release event at Wild Wing Café. We’re trying to get our beer at the stadium right now. We had our beer at the stadium last year so we should have it again there this year. We should be in all the boxes and all over the place in the stadium for games.

Q: What awards have you or Eagle Creek won?

Brown: We have two awards right now, one of them for our beer itself. One of them, world of beer cask off where all the Georgia breweries brought their own casks which are a special keg that you add all different flavorings too and our cask, chocolate stout, and it won that one. We also won best new business for downtown development [in Statesboro] this past month.