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The University of South Carolina Upstate’s George Dean Johnson, Jr. College of Business and Economics announces that RJ Rockers Brewing Company executives, John Bauknight and Henry Depew, will be guests at the Wells Fargo Speaker Series event April 11 at 3:30 p.m. They will share their experiences in the micro-brewery industry, and the challenges they faced as entrepreneurs building a business.

The public is invited to this free lecture, to be held in the BMW Classroom at the Johnson College, 160 E. Saint John St. in downtown Spartanburg. Following the presentation, attendees will receive a ticket to tour RJ Rockers’ facility and sample varieties of the brand’s beers. RJ Rockers Brewing Co. is located at 226A West Main Street in Spartanburg.

With the slogan, “Handcrafted. Every Beer. Every Drop. Every Time.,” RJ Rockers Brewing Company became Spartanburg’s first brewery in 1997. Located in historic downtown Morgan Square, the brewery and restaurant became a favorite downtown meeting place. Patrons could sample as many as 10 different craft-brewed beers on any given day, with favorites ranging from a light, golden Kolsch to a dark, sweet Stout while watching the new batches brewed before their eyes in the glass-enclosed brewhouse.

In 2003, founder Mark Johnsen transitioned the brewpub into a micro-brewery and moved to an industrial park. In 2007, Johnsen partnered with John Bauknight and Nick Wildrick of Longleaf Holdings USA, LLC. That location soon reached full capacity and in 2009 the company leased, and has now purchased, a 40,000 square foot building in downtown Spartanburg’s west end that featured a 30-barrel brewing system with an annual capacity of 7,500 barrels. That annual capacity has since grown to more than 20,000 barrels.

Co-owner Henry Depew bought into the company in 2010, becoming its president. Today, RJ Rockers beer can be found fresh and on tap, in restaurants and stores all over the Southeast.

For more information about the Wells Fargo Speaker Series, contact Bea Walters Smith at (864) 503-5235 or bwsmith@uscupstate.edu.

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