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Our Story

Shawn and Lindsay Johnson met in Florida and started their family there. They moved several times due to Shawn’s aviation career in the coast guard. They enjoyed experiencing new and local beers wherever they went, the vanguard of which was traditional style beers while living in Alaska. During their station in the northern most state, Lindsay bought Shawn his first homebrew kit for father’s day. Homebrewing in Alaska wasn’t easy, most of the supplies had to be shipped to where they lived on Kodiak Island, but this is where the passion project really started to take flight.

Birds-Fly-South_JFS9541-Theowners

Once they moved back down to Florida, they were introduced to a local brewery owner, Bob of Saint Somewhere Brewing, through a mutual connection. This is where Shawn truly got to roll up his sleeves and immerse himself in a brewery and began is understudy of wild beer. It made for working long days at the coast guard followed by nights and weekends learning everything he could at the brewery. But now that he had a taste for the future, he couldn’t turn back.

brewer tattoos

On The Move

BFS Beer Greenville, SC

During their final station they spent one year in D.C. Here Shawn shadowed at another brewery and helped them with their grand opening. From recipe ideation to ordering supplies and running a brew schedule this gave Shawn the confidence he needed to set out and establish a brewery of his own. Although he was stationed in D.C. his work project was based in Greenville, SC. Shawn and Lindsay would visit this area frequently and soon found themselves eyeing it as the future family home.

BFS brewery

Greenville had a lot to offer; mountains, hiking, camping, local artists, a good place to raise a family and it also had a need for more local beer. Shawn and Lindsay also noticed that no one in the area seemed to be focusing on wild and funky beer. So, they decided to open a brewery and do the opposite of what everyone else seemed to be doing. Instead of focusing on clean beer and trending styles they decided to focus on wild, funky, and throwback style ales. They began renting space from another local brewery, Thomas Creek, and the passion project took flight. The results were surreal.

The Flock Finds A Nest

Birds shared this space for about 6 months until Shawn and Lindsay found where they wanted to open up the brewery and taproom. 1320 Hampton was the spot and consequently how they announced to the local community about the brewery’s arrival.

Farmhouse Ales Birds Fly South

They brewed an IPA that they donned the “address beer” which was distributed around the Greenville area. Before the kegs were tapped at local bars and restaurants the keg-collars would be flipped revealing their new address; 1320 Hampton. The local community support was indescribable. The brewery’s sign was hung 1 hour before their grand opening with a line wrapped around the block to great them. Momentum for Birds has never tapered since.

1320 Double IPA by Birds Fly South

Today

Birds Fly South Ale Project owners Shawn & Lindsay Johnson

4 years after opening our brewery doors we are honored and humbled by the support of our community and the success we've achieved. What started as a vision for opening up a small mom and pop style brewery has now grown into creating over 3,500 barrels of beer across 5 different states.

Birds Fly South GABF

We've been fortunate to win over 20 accolades & awards for several of our beers from different competitions and judge panels, including:

  • 2016 Beer Advocate Top New Breweries
  • 3 Time Silver Medalist North American Brewers Association
    • Rhubarb Gose (Vegetable Beer),
    • Rumblefish (Belgian-Style Saison)
    • Nights Like These (Dry Irish Stout)
  • 2017 US Open Medalist: Bronze – Rhubarb Gose
  • 2017 World Beer Championship Medalist:
    • Silver – Bourbon BA Wolves in the Piano
  • 2018 Winner of Best in Craft Beer Awards
    • Weatherman (Belgian Table Beer)
    • Rustic Sunday (Specialty Saison)
  • 2018 Great American Beer Festival Medalist
    • Bronze – Rustic Sunday (Specialty Saison)
    • Gold – C’mon Sunshine (Brett Beer)
  • 2019 North American Brewers Association Medalist
    • Gold - Rumblefish (Other Belg. Style)
  • 2019 Great American Beer Festival Medalist
    • Bronze – C’mon Sunshine (Brett Beer)
  • 2020 Winner of Best in Craft Beer Awards
    • Silver - C’mon Sunshine (Brett Beer)

Our Brewery’s Name

The name Birds Fly South came about as an homage to the Johnson family’s life and migratory flight from Florida, Alaska, Florida, D.C. and eventually to Greenville where they’ve settled down and bypass harsh winters. Originally hailing from Florida and the Carolina’s, their family (their flock), was always looking to find their back to the south.

Our Logo

The Bird: Created in tandem with a local artist, Birds Fly South’s logo is dripping with intentionality and symbolism. Swallows are a sign of good luck and to sailors mean that there’s land nearby, they also migrate every year and mate for life. Sailor’s also commemorate every 2k miles at sea with a swallow tattoo. With Shawn’s coast guard background choosing this bird was a no-brainer.

The Circle: Represents an imprint from a beer bottle left on a surface. With Birds focusing on wild and bottle conditioned beers this symbolism provides great symmetry.