By Craig Collins
Brewers in downtown Opelika are helping the surrounding community. Red Clay Brewing Company, which was founded by John Corbin, Kerry McGinnis and Stephen Harle, is taking steps to establish charitable initiatives, from education to physical fitness. It isn’t just about brewing beer, it’s about giving back to the greater Auburn/Opelika area.
“There are two different directions that we are planning to go. Number one is with biking and sports,” Corbin said. Biking is very expensive for children to get into, but it’s very healthy for kids. “We are actively planning to help sponsor a kid that can’t financially afford a mountain bike,” Corbin stated. This leads into one charity Red Clay supports which is Central Alabama Mountain Pedalers, or C.A.M.P.. C.A.M.P. is an organization that advocates for health and wellness.
“Number two is with the University and the brewing sciences program. Right now, we are working with Auburn University to bring interns into the brewery. Plus, as we grow, we are looking to establish scholarships for students who want to continue their education but are unable to financially,” Corbin explained. Auburn University recently established a brewing science certificate last fall, working in conjunction with Oscar Blues Brewing Co.
Red Clay is not only assisting charities, but is an active participant in recycling. Instead of dumping spent grains from a mash tun, they have worked with local farmers, donating the grains to feed cattle. The brewery has made it a priority to reuse materials from the community. Red Clay used wood, salvaged from West Point’s factory, to make a rustic décor inside of their brewery.
“Everything was done by our hands, for the most part. All the way down to our tables and our bar, which the wood came from the old mill down the street,” Corbin said.
As they grow in the coming years, Red Clay has plans to be active in the community. With this growth, the brewery hopes to establish a canning line within the next year. Also, this September you can find two new beers in the taproom at the brewery, Alabama Snakes IPA and Red OAKtoberfest. Snake Bite is a Coffee IPA brewed with Auburn’s own Mama Mocha’s Coffee. Red OAktoberfest will be premiering in September as well, which is a dark Oktoberfest. Red Clay is also working to establish more varieties of beers, using local ingredients when possible. You can find more information about Red Clay at www.redclaybrewingcompany.com or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/RedClayBeer.