Five years ago, Rockingham County wasn’t a dry county, but the scene today is quite different. That’s due, in large part, to Rockingham County, now being home to three craft breweries, when there were none just a few short years ago.
It all started in the summer of 2018, when David Peters renovated an old funeral parlor in Madison, NC, to create Rockingham County’s first craft brewery. After opening in October 2019, Hell on Horsecreek (now rebranded as River Club Concern) quickly became a favorite for locals and visitors alike.
“Hell on Horsecreek Brewery was the first in Rockingham County and the biggest attraction to it is the renovation that went into the building,” said Mavis Dillon, Director of the Western Rockingham Chamber of Commerce. “The building had been empty for many years and basically was close to being condemned. [David] Peters spent a lot of hard work and money making the location an inviting and local hangout.”
The introduction of craft breweries didn’t stop in Madison, however. Something was brewing over in Eden and Reidsville, as well. Adam Horne, of Eden, said the reason his family got into the business was because of a hobby his father Thomas “Chip” Reynolds Jr. had for years.
Reynolds worked for years in the tobacco industry, Horne said, and “when he got ready to retire, he always used to brew beer in the garage in 5-gallon buckets.” Combined with the desire for a new eatery in town, Reynolds got involved directly. “We felt Eden needed [somewhere with] a nice atmosphere to hang out with friends and family,” Horne said. Thus, Reynolds Brewery was born. After some pandemic-related delays, the brewery officially opened in July 2021.
Meanwhile, over in Reidsville, something unique was happening: a brewery co-op, one of only a few in the state, was about to launch. Lucky City, its name is an homage to Reidsville’s tobacco heritage, opened in the summer of 2021. Judy Yarbrough, City Marketer for Reidsville, believes the brewery being a co-op is significant. “That means it has local ties and local people who have invested,” she said. “Which means they believe in what the brewery can do for our city and downtown.”These three breweries have quickly made Rockingham County a destination for craft beer lovers. According to Cindy Adams, the Marketing & Special Events Manager for Eden, the breweries’ impact has exceeded expectations. “They all have created these beautiful and unique environments for our citizens and visitors alike to gather,” she said. “These breweries add to our story and help in our efforts to create strong memories of this place we call home.”
Rockingham County might not be the first place that comes to mind when thinking about adult beverages, but with three breweries, along with multiple distilleries and wineries in the area, it is making a strong case. There is definitely something special brewing in Rockingham County.