AIKEN, S.C. (WJBF) – After 26 years of brewing beer and being a staple in the community, Aiken Brewing Company will be closing its doors for good on Friday.
Downtown Aiken has been home to the brewery and restaurant since 1997, and people who live there, have some very special memories of it.
From first dates to family outings, they tell us the brewery has always been their go-to spot.
“My family’s brought me here, I’ve been on dates here,” said Carly Elijah, a long-time Aiken resident. “I was in ROTC and we would do some of our after-competition meet-ups here. I mean, it’s literally just a staple of this place.”
“I’ve been going there forever,” said Catherine Gouge, the manager at Pitter Patter Children’s Boutique across from the brewery. “My dad used to take me there to eat well before I was twenty-one and could drink there, and then once I turned twenty-one, one of my first drinks was there, and I met my boyfriend there – and it’s just been a really special place.”
Neighboring stores are going to miss the atmosphere and business it brings to the area.
“We have a lot of cross business, there will be somebody eating there that will walk by the window and see something and come in and look,” said Van Smith, the owner of Lionel Smith Ltd. beside the brewery. “Or vice-versa, somebody says ‘I’m gonna go there and get lunch while my alterations are getting ready.’”
“It is a huge draw for lunchtime and late afternoon, and I’m hopeful it’s still gonna be a restaurant because its the front of the alley there,” Catherine Gouge said. “But, I definitely think we’ll see some changes once they’re closed.”
And although the owners declined to comment about the future of the space, many people hope that whatever replaces it, is beneficial to the community.
“As far as just like an all-American restaurant, that’s the only one I can think of off the top of my head that’s here,” Carly Elijah said. “And locally run is always what you want to see. Especially somewhere like historic downtown Aiken, so I hope it doesn’t get replaced by a chain.”
The brewery will have live outdoor music starting around 4 p.m. on Friday, and will be headlined by the Kenny George Band at 9 pm, so wear your green and be ready to have some fun.