March 31, 2021
By SOPHIA BUCKLEY-CLEMENT
BRANDON — Red Clover Ale Co. has officially been voted #7 in USA Today’s “10 Best New Breweries Since 2018” after weeks of nail-biting and online voting.
Nominated alongside 19 other breweries from Seattle to Boston, Red Clover Ale Co. put its faith in its community to garner this achievement. Patrons were invited to vote every day, twice a day on USA Today’s contest website — and many Red Clover devotees did just that.
“We have always said that success to us is having someone walk into the brewery a second time, and this feels like the ultimate version of that,” the brewery team wrotein a Facebook announcement.
Owners Riker Wikoff, Pete Brooks and Andrew Gates started the business in late 2018 and, despite the pandemic, have continued to grow and thrive ever since. Gates said it certainly wasn’t easy after COVID regulations set in, but having their work recognized has been extremely validating.
“Having to close our taproom and not being able to have that connection with, and feedback from, the people drinking our beer when we are still in the infancy of our business has been tough,” Gates said.
Despite the curveballs COVID-19 has thrown at Red Clover Ale Co, the team has blossomed since their opening days. Operating and selling exclusively out of their taproom, patrons say Red Clover Ale has curated a quality atmosphere unlike anywhere else.
Jarred Wendel, a Bristol native, said the guys at Red Clover are just great people who deserved this award for the hard work they’ve put in.
“It’s a small brewery in a small town with a great product, just like the state we live in,” Wendel said.
Brandon resident Michael Shank said that Red Clover’s win means more to Brandon than just fantastic locally-brewed beer.
“A win like this shows what’s possible when a community comes together,” said Red Clover fan Michael Shank. “Not only is it a great product, but Red Clover became the town watering hole pre-pandemic. All types were welcomed: big, small, red, blue, young and old. So, that’s what also won here. That kind of inclusion.”
Editor’s note: Sophia Buckley-Clement is an intern and journalism student at Castleton State University.