A new era in Columbia’s craft beer industry started with the official opening of the Peak Drift Brewing Co. on Wednesday morning, Jan. 18.
Peak Drift officially opened its new 25,000-square-foot production facility, which represents phase one of the company’s future 65,000-square-foot brewery complex.
State legislators, county council members and other community leaders from around the Midlands attended an official ribbon cutting ceremony held at the brewery located at 3452 North Main St.
“Our mission with Peak Drift is to help people celebrate life’s peak moments, no matter how big or small they are,” said Sara Middleton Styles, co-owner of Peak Drift along with her brother Greg Middleton. “We’re excited to be part of an innovative craft beverage community here in the Columbia area and to have a state-of-the-art brewing experience going on here. There are endless possibilities here and this is only the beginning for us.”
The Middletons launched Peak Drift in 2021. The company launched its inaugural line of craft beer and hard seltzers in the Midlands in December.
Speakers at the opening ceremony included Ashley Kinart-Short, one of the only female certified master brewers in the Southeast who oversees the brewery’s flavors, recipes and overall brewing process.
“This is a huge project, bigger than anything I’ve ever taken on, and I’m excited to be doing what I love to do, which is making amazing beer and beverages,” Kinart-Short told a large crowd.
The new brewery will use innovative approaches to ensure sustainability and quality, including in-house fruit processing equipment for better sours and hard ciders, an onsite lab for quality-testing all products and a state-of-the-art packaging system.
Peak Drift will also use surface tension technology to produce alkaline water and natural cleaning solution to cut down on chemical use, and a membrane filtration system to produce hard seltzers and non-alcoholic craft beer. The company also has a high-volume digital printer which allows it to print can graphics in-house and keep its cans 100% recyclable.
Columbia officials praised the Middletons’ decision to locate their brewery in the North Main district.
“Peak Drift is so much more than just a brewery – it’ s a way of cultivating the local economy built up by local entrepreneurs and community buy-in,” said Columbia City Councilwoman Aditi Bussells. “Peak Drift is improving the quality of life here in the North Main area and helping to revive the overall community.”