SIMPSONVILLE, S.C (WSPA) – There are about 500 microbreweries in the Carolinas. One of them lets you buy bananas, milk and toilet paper while you’re there.
Lowes Foods has 81 stores in the Carolinas and Virginia. You can find their ”Beer Den” taps at other locations, but only their Beer Den Cavern in Simpsonville brews onsite; a reason Food Network Magazine recently mentioned this Lowes Foods as a best place to shop with friends.
From the equipment to the indoor and outdoor seating, this looks like many microbreweries.
The fact it’s in a grocery store even surprises their Brewmaster, Joe Quattlebaum.
“I’m like wait a second, I’m brewing beer and I’m at a grocery store at the same time. Ok, that’s kind of interesting.”
Director of beverages Charles Slezak said that once the customers get in, they soon realize this is not just “grocery store beer.”
“A guest will come in, they’ll see this strange spot over in the corner of the store. And then we get to engage with them. We get to tell the stories of the beer and have them sample through some things.”
Around a dozen store-brewed beers are typically available at once. Since this store opened in 2017, they’ve brewed around 50 different varieties.
From the straightforward like their hefeweizen or their IPA to something a little different. Joe has watched over each one.
“In our first year, we made a watermelon wheat ale which we literally took 30 watermelons from our produce department,” Quattlebaum said. “It’s cool because if I’m looking for inspiration, I literally can just take a walk around the store and find cool ingredients to use.”
Inspiration also comes from the community.
Lowes Foods is a major sponsor of September’s Euphoria in Greenville; an event that distributes grants to area organizations. This year includes A Child’s Haven, Mill Village Farms, the Meyer Center and the Greenville Tech Foundation.
Community is also just the simple act of gathering with friends on either side of the bar or just filling the shopping cart.