10 of the Country’s Most Interesting Breweries
Blackberry Farm Brewery
Talk with Roy Milner of Blackberry Farm for just a few minutes and you’ll hear the same word several times: integrity. It’s a concept that is rooted deep inside his mind, and one that the eastern Tennessee brewery (that he helped to found in 2011 at a luxury resort) seeks to put into each bottle. “I would say we were very, very quiet for the first few years. Only on the farm, no distribution,” he says. “We wanted to determine what we were about.” Ultimately the brewery, located on 9,000 acres that includes world-class lodging and dining, would take four beer production tracks: Saisons. Abbey brewing. A wine-barrel-aging program. And terroir-inspired beers. Milner says the beers make sense. Saisons are rooted in farmhouse culture and were the first the brewery produced. Each rooted in a season, the beers helped tell the story of the farm. The abbey beers came along with both the regal appreciation and an affinity for food pairings.
“We come from a long tradition of wine makers, so we want as much cultivated from the farm as possible,” says Milner. “With a program at Clemson University, we collected 13 unique yeast strains here.” All the malt comes from an heirloom malt division of Weyermann in Germany. The wine barrels are single-sourced from California.
“We are not concerned about price but integrity. We’ve benefited from a clientele that is interested and engaged,” he says, noting the brewery is now in eight states with expansion planned to 36. “For them, we’ve tried to deliver on that brand promise.” –John Holl