Gary Brown first opened Boondocks on Aug. 1, 2012.
Gary Brown Boondocks .jpg
Since Boondocks first opened, they have expanded to include its “Boon Deck”and beer garden. This photo was taken in 2017.
Boondocks hosts a number of events throughout the year, including this Member Blast for Ashe County Chamber of Commerce members in 2019.

Gary Brown first opened Boondocks on Aug. 1, 2012.
Gary Brown Boondocks .jpg
Since Boondocks first opened, they have expanded to include its “Boon Deck”and beer garden. This photo was taken in 2017.
Boondocks hosts a number of events throughout the year, including this Member Blast for Ashe County Chamber of Commerce members in 2019.
WEST JEFFERSON — On Aug. 1, 2012, Boondocks Brewing launched the first craft brewery in West Jefferson, and it has certainly been a memorable decade for longtime owner Gary Brown.
Brown has always been proud of since the day the doors first opened, is how much Boondocks has given back to the Ashe County community. It hasn’t always been about the cold beers or the wide variety of food served over the years.
“Boondocks Brewing is not here just to feed people and make a living for its employees, it is here to make a difference,” Brown said. “A couple of things really stick out in my mind over the past 10 years. First, as a result of this small business I founded in 2012, we have helped seven employees become first time homeowners and have helped countless others improve their position in life. This small business has also been responsible for many ‘firsts’, including the first craft beer brewery in Ashe County and within a four-county radius, first West Jefferson restaurant with a large covered outside dining area, aka the ‘Boon Deck,’ first rooftop deck, first multiple location restaurant and first food truck, to name a few.”
According to Brown, in just 10 short years, Boondocks Brewing has employed close to 500 Ashe County residents and has generated more than $7.5 million in payroll, benefits and payroll taxes. They have purchased more than $4 million worth of food and supplies, a good portion of which has gone directly into the local economy. More than $140,000 has been paid to local musicians and more than $165,000 has been donated to local charities and local event sponsorships. Boondocks has also spent greater than $450,000 has with local contractors and more than $794,000 has been spent on local taxes and utilities with the many projects they have completed over the last decade.
The awards and accolades for Boondocks Brewing have added up since the doors first opened. In 2015, Boondocks was named the third-best brewery along the Blue Ridge Parkway. The following year, Boondocks Brewing was named Ashe County’s Small Business of the Year. In 2017, the honors expanded to the state level as Boondocks was named North Carolina’s Best American Craft Beer Bar by Craftbeer.com. In 2020, Boondocks Brewing was selected by the North Carolina Restaurant and Lodging Association to represent North Carolina as NC’s 2020 Restaurant Neighbor Award recipient at the National Awards Banquet in Washington D.C.
Since Boondocks first opened, Gary and his wife Debbie have been able to continue to expand its footprint to include the “Boon Deck” as well as the beer garden. In 2014, the couple successfully purchased the former Geno’s Restaurant building at 302 S. Jefferson Ave. to open the Boondocks Brewhaus.
“If you look at the current food and social scene in West Jefferson, you see the impact that this small business has had. When we first opened, about 45% of the buildings in downtown were vacant and there were only a few places to get a non-fast-food meal and there was certainly little to no craft beer to be found. Now we have The Tavern, Craft Bistro, New River Brewing, Havana Café and Slice WJ, all of which are either owned, operated or staffed by prior Boondocks Brewing team members,” Brown said. “We do not take credit for all of the great options that are now available, but we do take great pride in knowing that the Boondocks Brewing DNA can be found throughout Ashe County and beyond.”
On March 30, which so happened to be Gary’s 59th birthday, Boondocks announced that they would be joining Legacy Libations Corp., headquartered in North Wilkesboro. Legacy Libations also has the Copper Barrel Distillery, Copper Barrel Brew Haus, Mayberry Craft Spirits and Doc Porters Spirits businesses. According to Brown, Boondocks Brewing and Copper Barrel have become the primary food and beverage service providers at North Wilkesboro Motor Speedway now that races have resumed at the iconic track. In addition to the deal with North Wilkesboro Speedway, there are plans to expand upon a partnership with Tanger Outlets.
As part of joining Legacy Libations, many of the staff that has been with Boondocks since prior to COVID-19 are now part owners of the business through stock ownership.
“Since day one, I have made it clear that my top priority was to create an economically viable and sustainable business that I would pass along to the dedicated team members that make the magic happen. I am proud to say that this has been accomplished,” Brown explained. “I am so excited about the future and although change always comes with challenges, I firmly believe that the Boondocks Brewing enterprise is well positioned with Legacy Libations to achieve great things over the next 10-plus years.”
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