Deep River: Johnston County’s first legal brewery

Guy pouring beer

Pouring in the taproom at Deep River.

Johnston County has a long history of moonshine production. So when Deep River Brewing Co. began making plans to open in Clayton earlier this year, Johnston County residents got a kick out of the idea, calling it the county’s “first LEGAL brewery.”

The moniker caught on and became Deep River’s unofficial title – first legal brewery. The brewery is located in an old mill on Main Street.  The owners say the building offers three times the space they need for now, but they hope it will accommodate the growth they’d like to see in the future. Later this year, they hope to start canning or bottling their brews.

We visited the tasting room on a warm afternoon and opted to drink our beer inside, rather than outside in the sun. Enjoyed talking with the bartenders, and one of the brewery owners offered a tour.

The beers we tried included First Run, citrusy and smooth, and 4020 Porter, a smooth dark beer with hints of cocoa and vanilla. Just for fun, we wrapped up with a Double D’s Watermelon Lager, served with a cube of watermelon, also a light, citrusy summer style beer.

Outside, beer lovers enjoyed a food truck, corn hole games and picnic tables with umbrellas. Overall, a nice afternoon beer outing. Bartenders recommended a few good local restaurants in Clayton. Craving barbecue, we headed for McCall’s.

Deep River Brewing Co.
700 W. Main St., Clayton, NC

Taproom hours:
Thursdays: 5-9 pm (No tours)
Fridays:  4-9 pm (Tours)
Saturdays: 1-8 pm (Tours)

Two beers on a barrel

Deep River’s 4020 Porter, left, and Double D’s Watermelon lager.

People at picnic tables

Lots of room inside and out to enjoy a beer at Deep River.


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