Downtown Opelika has become part of the fast-growing national trend of local craft spirits and beer and is home to both a distillery and a brewing company. If you are looking for a place to savor a drink with friends and enjoy local tourism, John Emerald Distilling Company, and Red Clay Brewery Company are perfect options for you:
John Emerald Distilling Company
The John Emerald Distilling Company was founded in 2014 by John and Jimmy Sharp, father and son, as a family business, and as a way to stay close to family. This is why their products, Hugh Wesley’s Gin, Elizabeth Vodka or John’s Alabama Single Malt, are named after their ancestors; because family was their reason to embark on this adventure.
This small batch craft distillery produces a single malt whiskey, a vodka, three types of rum, single, aged and spiced, a gin and a small muscadine brandy distill. If you would like to try them, John Emerald has a tasting room where you can do it from Wednesday to Sunday.
They also have a bar where they prepare cocktails exclusively made from their products. This is a great opportunity to enjoy a drink made with local spirits.
Their “Distilling Experience” will give you the opportunity to immerse yourself in the experience of making Alabama spirits and live a distiller’s life for the day
They also have a tour experience that takes place every Friday from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., and Saturdays from 2 p.m. to 9 p.m. starting on the hour. In the tour, which are walk-ins except for groups of 15 or more, you will have the chance to visit the distillery. Just let the bartender know that you are here for the tour. Your visit will start with a walk to the barrel storage room where they will talk about all aspects of maturing their whiskey. Through the visit, you will visit the warehouse where they store ingredients for making their spirits, the production area where the spirit production process takes place, the bottling line, and you will finish with a look at the test still area. The tours last approximately 20 minutes and are free if you purchase merchandise or their spirits. Without purchase, the charge is $5 per person.
John Emerald Distilling Company was also the first legal whiskey distillery in Alabama since Prohibition. So if you want to try a cocktail made from local products, or if you like spirits and are curious about how they are made, this is what you are looking for.
For more information on this, don’t hesitate to look at their website.
Red Clay Brewing Company
Red Clay Brewing Company is a microbrewery and taproom. Located next to John Emerald Distilling Company, they opened their doors in 2015. Red Clay manufactures their beers on location. With twelve taps available at any given time, they also make seasonal changes and have a lot of different beer recipes. Their most popular: Hefeweizen. This type of beer, traditionally from Bavaria, literally translates to “wheat beer with yeast.” With an airy taste, Hefeweizen is an unfiltered beer, typified by little hop bitterness and a moderate level of alcohol.
At Red Clay, all ages and furs are welcome! They are kid friendly and dog friendly, which makes it ideal for everyone, from college students to friends and families, to bring their loved ones. Besides their beer-on-tap selection, they also serve sodas, including their occasional craft soda, a soft drink artisanal-made with natural ingredients.
Red Clay Brewing Company has become a community hub and a gathering place perfect for an all-inclusive night out.
And what is better to accompany your drinks than pizza? Red Clay also serve house-made pizzas in personal size (7’’) or for sharing (12’’). Your choice of cheese, three toppings or five toppings. Their craft beer is distributed throughout Alabama and Georgia, and you can find it in local restaurants including The Irish Bred Pub, Zazu and Niffers in downtown Opelika.
Red Clay is also a great place for events, whether is a celebration or a charitable event.Community and environment are very important to Red Clay Brewing Company. This is why they have collaborated with the Lee County Humane Society in their Summer of Second Chances campaign and with One Percent for the Planet, an organization whose members contribute at least one percent of their annual sales to environmental causes.
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