Q&A with Mark Johnsen, founder of RJ Rockers

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Q&A with Mark Johnsen, founder of RJ Rockers



RJ Rockers Brewing Co. has become Spartanburg’s hometown brewery, earning accolades across the country for its beers, including its signature Son of a Peach, a wheat ale featuring heaps of South Carolina-grown peaches.

The brewery brought craft beer to Spartanburg and helped usher in a new era of food and drink-related development, particularly in Downtown Spartanburg. RJ Rockers this year celebrated its 21st anniversary in the Hub City, and the brewery’s restaurant companion, The Silo at RJ Rockers, opened to much fanfare and positive reviews. The Silo has since become a popular foodie spot in Spartanburg, showcasing a unique menu and RJ Rockers best beers.

Now, the brewery and restaurant look to continue adding to Downtown Spartanburg’s dining culture.

Your name: Mark Johnsen

Your position: Founder/Brewer

Business: RJ Rockers Brewing Company

Address: 226-A W. Main St., Spartanburg, S.C. 29306

Description: Brewery

More info: 864-585-BEER and rjrockers.com

When did you open in downtown Spartanburg? April 30, 1997

Why did you choose downtown Spartanburg? The southeast was the last portion of the country to embrace the microbrew craze. In particular, Downtown Spartanburg was on the cusp of revitalization and brewpubs have served as a catalyst in other cities to jumpstart that revitalization.

What’s the best thing downtown Spartanburg has going for it? Downtown is “ALIVE” with more and more independent hospitality businesses popping up everywhere. People are getting into of just going downtown and figuring out their destination(s) once they get there.

How has downtown Spartanburg changed since you opened? Before we opened in April 1997, you could almost see tumbleweeds blowing down the empty streets on Morgan Square after 5pm. Now, it’s difficult to find a place to park.

What do you hope is next for downtown Spartanburg? I hope this trend continues. It took 20 years, but it finally is taking shape!

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