Creativity You Can Drink

March 20, 2019

From homebrewed buckets to brewhouse barrels, a simple craft beer hobby has turned into a new business venture for three Winthrop alumni. In December 2018, entrepreneurs Ben Lee ’05, Matt Poston ’11 and Ron Fasick ’02 celebrated the grand opening of Slow Play Brewing, a new microbrewery that joins the ranks of a booming craft beer industry.

There are some 6,800 craft breweries in the U.S. and about 60 in South Carolina, according to the Brewers Association. Locally, Slow Play is the newest Rock Hill brewery featured on the YOCO Brew Trail, a tourism initiative created by Visit York County to highlight the craft beer scene.

It’s a scene that is more friendly than competitive; each brewery offering its own distinct brews to savvy drinkers.

The diversity of the craft beer scene, Lee said, is what gives each location the ability to have its own niche and its own crowd.

“You don’t want to have the same beer, at the same space with the same vibe. No, you want to go to different places that have different beer and different vibes,” Lee explained.

Visit York County believes the market is there to provide options.

“There is a demand for breweries in this area and these owners are taking advantage of the desire from locals to have those types of options in York County,” said Billy Dunlap, president and CEO of the Rock Hill/York County Convention & Visitors Bureau. “The craft beer industry continues to grow across the country and York County is following that trend. We expect more breweries to open in York County within the next two years,” Dunlap added.

Slow Play — named for a style of playing poker — provides a “neighborhood” feel in terms of location. The microbrewery was upfitted from the former Fourman’s Repair Shop on Columbia Avenue and is in close proximity to downtown Rock Hill and Winthrop, where high school buddies Lee and Fasick befriended Poston. From their college years into adulthood, the trio experimented with homebrewing in a garage but eventually became serious about a business investment.

“What we liked about [the location] was it was right on campus, right downtown … there was a lot of good growth in the area, an area we all believed in since we all live here, work here and play here,” Lee said.

The brewers were heavily involved in the structural design and layout of Slow Play. The result: a huge, airy space with a sleek interior outfitted with re-purposed wooden materials, massive windows and industrial elements throughout.

“We wanted to be hands on with [construction], to make sure it was done the way we wanted it. So we have been here since day one,” Lee added.

The owners researched and built their brand, even reaching out to local brewers for advice and feedback. Ultimately what they came up with was what Lee calls “creativity you can drink.”

In addition to creating its own brews, Slow Play also partners with other breweries to feature “guest taps” like the Fort Pilsner (Amor Artis) and collaborations like the Brut MimosAle (Legal Remedy).

The 3,000-square-foot tasting room is the perfect backdrop for food, fun and fellowship. Their food truck partner, Full Table, serves up delicious eats; game nights kick off in the evenings and Live Music Saturday attracts local talent.

Warmer weather will bring “live” karaoke events, beer garden entertainment, card tournaments, trivia nights and of course … more unique beer options.

To learn more about Slow Play, follow along on Instagram @slowplaybrewing.

Last updated by hayeskk
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