Bootleg Brewers beginnings were sprouted in 1978 with Ron Worm when his father-in-law, Charlie, who made homebrew, included him in a brew session.
Ingredients were difficult to come by then, so their beer was made from Blue Ribbon malt and bread yeast, both purchased at the local grocery store.
They affectionately called their beer Musketeer Beer. This beer had nothing to do with sword fights between men in blue tunics and tights but named Musketeer Beer because it was so musky it brought tears to their eyes. It was bad, but you had to drink it because it was your proudly made, first brews.
Ron wore many different hats over the years from ranching and working as a foreman on the railroad, to cutting the first live tree out of the Halsey forest, then on to owning his own sawmill, kiln, and post peeler, to entertaining many at the Double T. He logged professionally for Columbia Helicopters from the west coast mountains to the east coast swamp regions of North and South Carolina. Ron worked on the construction of roads and houses.
Finally he was called home from logging in North Carolina by his dad, Guy, to help him with the ranch. Between ranching and logging locally, he decided to do woodworking on the side while still brewing from time to time to relax.
As many can attest to, Ron played as hard as he worked. Some of his hobbies turned into businesses, but his beer “hobby” was the one thing he enjoyed the most.
In the fall of 2000, Ron declared a holiday. He called it Crawdad Fest. So they gathered crawdads and invited friends over and cooked up the crawdads and shared his beer.
Over time the beer ingredients got easier to find, so in 2001, Ron decided to brew a batch of all grain beer. Armed with his 5 gallon buckets he’d drilled holes in so he could sparge and his homemade wort chiller, he and his friend Kevin went to work in his wife Dodie’s kitchen, brewing the first batch of all grain beer. They were pleasantly surprised with the resulting brew.
“We will brew more!!”
Soon, between Ron and Kevin and a guy named Hank, they had to brew more often to keep up with their appetite for this golden nectar. Out of this passion for brewing Ron created an all grain home brew system in the basement of their home out of common household items. Back then there weren’t kits you could buy at the local big box store. With a little ingenuity …. he went to work on creating a session beer he loved. From that hard work, Cling On was created and not only did Ron love it, but anyone who stopped by to visit loved it too. Cling On got its name because of the large amount of grains required to make this tasty brew which also increases the ABV to about 7%. Easy drinking and high in alcohol can sneak up on you and before you know it you are looking for something or someone to “Cling On” to. Sorry Star Trek fans, no relation here.
When word got out about Ron and his beer, people would sometimes just show up at their ranch for a sip. Ron and Dodie truly love entertaining and would stop whatever they were doing on the ranch to make sure their guests were well fed and had a cold beer in hand. It doesn’t matter whether you are a billionaire executive; a country music producer or an average hard working Joe; Ron and Dodie won’t treat you any different and always make sure you have a good time. Ron was always more than happy to show you his brew system and how to make a good beer. Many would stop by not just to try the beer but to get tips from Ron on how to create their own. Because of this, in 2001 Ron decided to start his own brew club called Bootleg Brewers.
From the beginning Ron was always trying to improve and perfect his brew system and his beer. From a 10 gallon cooler to a 40 gallon cooker to eventually a 20 barrel system that he has today, Ron has brewed many beers over the years. The fall of 2015 will mark an achievement that many home brewers dream of accomplishing and unfortunately too few get to realize. Ron’s dream of having his very own brewery will come true for all to enjoy.
Come visit Ron and Dodie when you get a chance. Ron makes a good beer and Dodie makes a great meal. You may want to take a tour of the brewery and stay a couple days in our cabins too. However short or long your stay, it is certain you will have a good time!
Come be our guest,
Bootleg Brewers – Sandhills Brewing Company