Business Spotlight: Aiken Brewing Co.

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WHAT IS IT: Microbrewery/restaurant/bar

Rob and Jennifer Pruiett are the owners of the Aiken Brewing Co. in Aiken.  Special
Special
Rob and Jennifer Pruiett are the owners of the Aiken Brewing Co. in Aiken.

OWNERS: Rob and Jennifer Pruiett

ADDRESS 140 Laurens St. S.W., Aiken 29801

NUMBER OF YEARS OPEN: 10 (three under current owners)

EMPLOYEES: 30

HOW DID YOU GET INTO THIS BUSINESS?: Jennifer: The business was purchased from previous owners (Dan & Kurmalee Beavers). We both had been in the restaurant industry for years and were in the process of purchasing another concept when we found out the pub was for sale, so we jumped on it.

WHAT'S YOUR STRANGEST CLIENT/INCIDENT?: Far too many to list! Remember, this restaurant includes a bar!

WHAT YOU LIKE ABOUT THE BUSINESS?: We have a great clientele of repeat customers. Not a day goes by that we can't tell you the names of most of the people in here. Some days it's almost like we've turned into the neighborhood bar on Cheers.

WHAT DON'T YOU LIKE ABOUT THE BUSINESS?: The fact that we (Rob and I) can't make the beer ourselves. There just aren't enough hours in the day to do it all.

WHY DOES YOUR BUSINESS STANDS OUT?: World-class craft brewed beer!

WHAT ORGANIZATIONS/EVENTS ARE YOU INVOLVED IN?: Aiken Chamber of Commerce, Aiken Downtown Development Association, World Association of Brewers

AWARDS/RECOGNITIONS: Great American Beer Festival: Randy's Grand Cru, Silver Medal; Thoroughbred Red, Gold Medal, Silver Medal. Aiken Standard Reader's Poll "Best Bar," "Best Place for Live Music"; Easy Street magazine Reader's Poll "Best Outdoor Dining" and "Best Sports Bar." Southern Living magazine has us listed as a must-stop spot for ribs in an article that featured restaurants along Interstate 20 from Atlanta to the coast.

YOUR BEST BUSINESS ADVICE: If you don't care about your business, nobody will.

WHERE YOU SEE YOUR BUSINESS IN FIVE TO 10 YEARS: More award-winning beers, perhaps a brewery on the coast.

MOST IMPORTANT BUSINESS PRINCIPLE: Create raving fans!

BIGGEST CHALLENGES IN THE BUSINESS: Keeping up with the demand for our beer. As consumption rates continue to rise, it's a struggle to maintain a constant supply with the equipment we have, and there's no room for expansion of the brewery operations.

ROLE MODELS/INSPIRATIONS: Bosco's. It's a restaurant/microbrewery that has managed to franchise a few locations without compromising the quality of their beer. Really, all small microbreweries that have managed to weather the revolutionary changes of the craft brewing industry over the years.


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