Against the Grain
May 29, 2019 | John Jeter, Town Carolina
As hordes of local breweries surface across the South, the race for the best beer is steep. But these Greenville brew masters maintain a collaborative and creative mindset, crafting everything from ales to sours, and turning their side hobbies into full-fledged productions.
LIABILITY BREWING COMPANY
“I’m a pretty entrepreneurial person,” says Terry Horner, 42, who moved to Greenville seven years ago from Ohio, where he started several software-related companies. “I knew I would eventually get back to opening another business someday, and the market factors—with the laws changing, my timing, personally, and my passion for beer—they all kind of aligned.”
Horner, who works remotely for a company in San Francisco, opened Liability last August on the former Battery & Electric Co. site, now the Westone development, on West Stone Avenue.
“One of the reasons I got into beer is because it’s very similar to technology,” he says, analogizing open-source software codes with open-source beer recipes. “There’s a bunch of people who don’t know each other that get together and build software, and beer is very similar. We have great relationships with almost every brewery in town.”
And with local taprooms, too. Liability sells about 40 barrels a month, most out of its taproom, but now distributes to 20 accounts, such as Barley’s and Sidewall Pizza.
“Distro,” as they say in the trades, isn’t the asset Liability’s aiming to build. “It’s mainly for eyeball purposes,” Horner says. “We want more people to know that we exist, and it’s easy to get that reach out there.”
The name’s getting around, too, so let’s get around to the name. Liability? “We all know these people in our lives—our crazy uncle or friends who embarrass themselves or embarrass us,” Horner says.
As with the other two microbreweries, Liability’s beer menu reads like a cross between a grocery list for a trippy farmers market and titles you might find at an out-there comic book store.
A Snitch in Time, a crispy American Ale, serves up an aroma of honey butter, Hawaiian bread, and candied apricot, with flavors of English muffin, marmalade, and corn flakes. The hoppy Mortal Wombat, with essences of honeydew, guava, and cotton candy, gives off fragrances of nectarine, peach ring, and orange liqueur. Ted Danzig, a schwarzbier, or dark lager, is, as the menu says, “Pleasant like a cheerful bartender. Hard like a Jersey metal band.”
The taproom generally keeps 13 beers on tap at a time, and despite the quirky names, Horner says Liability’s master brewer, C.J. Golobish, is “very tried-and-true.” He wants to get the flavor out of the beer rather than putting a ton of adjunct ingredients into it.
“That’s been part of our strategy, to work up to the weirdness. We wanted to make sure we made great-quality beer for people to come and enjoy first,” Horner says.
To that, he raises a glass to Greenville’s barreling scene. “It’s kind of a chill, laid-back, everyone-come-drink-my-beer kind of thing,” he says. “We want people to share in these flavors we’re creating in this community we’re trying to build. We’re trying to educate consumers about what craft beer’s all about.”
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