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Brewery Showcase | Other Lands

Other Lands Brewing, Greenville, SC
Brian Haitz

How does one decide where and when to open a brewery? For Founder and Brewer Mel Wilcox of Other Lands, the destination was clear but the pathway was unexpected and arduous at times. However, with a mantra of “evolve or die,” he set out to turn his vision of uniquely blended beers paired with an antithetical designed community-centric taproom into a reality.

Mel Wilcox, Other Lands
Mel Wilcox, Other Lands Founder/Head Brewer. Photo Credit: Other Lands

When Mel graduated from Furman University, he had already begun honing the skill and passion for creating beer by brewing on a home brew kit. This knack and passion set him on a trajectory to apply to the UC Davis Brewing Program. Known for its exceptional training and peer learning, Wilcox felt fortunate when he learned he had been accepted. With the encouragement of his spouse, mentors, and friends, he uprooted and enrolled, sending him to California for the program. He reflects fondly on that decision, noting how it opened doors for him, which so clearly led him to where he is now with Other Lands. Beginning his official brewing career as a brewer at Colorado’s Great Divide Brewery, he then advanced into becoming lead brewer at Ratio Beerworks in downtown Denver, soaking up every opportunity and technique from the many experts by which he was surrounded. From there, his sights were set on creating something that was truly his own. This would also include relocating his family to an area that offered a more friendly cost of living and better overall quality of life.

The Making of Other Lands

What is the backstory behind the name Other Lands? It stems from a Walt Whitman poem, filled with mysticism and historical allure, which speaks to themes of searching for a home. For centuries, people have nomadically journeyed to find their “home,” and so was the case for Mel and his family in order to bring Other Lands into being. As they sojourned primarily between California and Colorado, periodic visits to upstate South Carolina kept Greenville top of mind. They felt drawn to all that Greenville had to offer: from the low cost of living to a non-saturated beer market as well as the quality of local water. After what seemed like an endless search through old mills and warehouses for the right location, they landed upon a 1940s building right near downtown that had been a neighborhood butchery for decades. The location and setting felt like it had been sitting there all along waiting for them to find it, thus becoming their new brewery’s home.

More Than a Brewery

“We’re a lot more than a brewery,” says Wilcox,”which can also be confusing to people at times.” When you first enter Other Lands it does not feel like your prototypical brewery. From the comprehensive menu to the atmosphere, it feels different, which is intentional. Alongside their twenty-five taps, they operate as a full-service coffee and cocktail bar, not to mention their scratch food-truck-influenced kitchen, featuring fresh sandwiches, salads, and some delectable fresh-cut fries. Given that this deviates significantly from the typical offerings found at breweries, it makes for a pleasantly surprising experience.

Original butcher sign discovered during building renovations

Other Lands officially opened its doors in December of 2023 in a aforementioned revitalized neighborhood butchery just north of downtown Greenville, South Carolina, after a lengthy process of permits and construction. The atmosphere is distinct from other breweries: although industrial in nature, it is bright with a softer aesthetic. “I wanted to do something that felt like the opposite of every other brewery aesthetic. Ours is industrial and yet not masculine which stands out to people.” Visiting patrons will see a blend of folks working on their laptops and drinking coffee, friends catching up over a beer or cocktail, and others pairing their conversations with lunch. It is a fascinating blend of patrons to witness all in one place.

Interior taproom setting. Photo Credit: Other Lands

Blending Worlds and Beer

Speaking of blending, that is one of the primary approaches to beer making that Wilcox uses. Much in the way that winemaking takes a collection of grapes to make a blended vintage, Other Lands takes a base beer and blends it with other ingredients and adjuncts to extend their products and offer a constantly evolving menu of beer styles. Wilcox is always “looking for inspiration” with flavors and styles and is willing to take risks to get there. This “winemaking mentality” allows him to experiment with ingredients and flavors using smaller batches, which both lowers risk and allows for dialing-in each flavor successfully. “Everything is blendable,” states Wilcox. Much of their beer lineup utilizes a few base beers, however the end result of each brew is quite distinct. For example, a Hazy IPA blended with orange juice inspired by Orange Julius flavors, or a traditional Berliner Weisse infused with house made raspberry syrup. Building beer styles crafted from the same backbone is not totally novel; however, the manner and frequency of it at Other Lands stands out.

Morning Day, Berliner Weisse infused with house made raspberry syrup. Photo Credit: Other Lands

Taste and See for Yourself

Other Lands does not currently package or sell beer to go. They have very limited keg distribution with a handful of farm-to-table restaurants in the surrounding area, so your best bet is to head into the taproom and taste one of the twenty-five draught offerings for yourself.

So if you are looking for a place that stands out with flavor and atmosphere, consider trying a blended beer (or cocktail or coffee) at Other Lands, your new home away from home.

Other Lands glassware and taproom

 


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