Doing his part to restore small-town Appalachia, Clay Elkins is the co-owner of Cross Creek Hospitality in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia. The hospitality brand includes Cross Creek Cafe, Road Hog’s BBQ, Cross Creek on Main, and Big Draft Brewing

Elkins, a native of Charlotte, North Carolina, has called Greenbrier County home for the last 15 years. After earning a B.S. in Computer Information Systems, he quickly learned that cubicle life was not for him; his passion was food, entertainment, and hospitality. Elkins then pursued a degree in Culinary Arts from Johnson and Wales University. 

After serving 13 years as Director of Food and Beverage at the Greenbrier Sporting Club, Elkins opened The Local Café, now Cross Creek Cafe, in Lewisburg (c. 2018). Soon after that, he partnered with David Bostic and J.W. Groseclose to form Cross Creek Hospitality.

When asked about his love for West Virginia, Elkins said, “We did the opposite and came up I-77. I love it [today] more than ever.” 

Big Draft Brewing is a full-scale neighborhood taproom with a brewery and selection of 12 of their own local beers on tap. After several business iterations, the ownership finally decided upon a brewery. 

The brewing company’s best-seller is a mainstream blue-collar lager, affectionately named, The Foreman, after its namesake, who was the foreman on the old hardware building restoration project––the brewery’s current location. 

Like their beer, Elkins and his crew are for the people of West Virginia. The 2016 floods that swept through Southern West Virginia, particularly Greenbrier County, are the heartbeat of Cross Creek Hospitality. 

What ended in 23 deaths five years ago, Cross Creek Hospitality, alongside Big Draft Brewing, now hopes to bring about life and change to the community they love. 

“The people in this state are resilient and amazing,” said Elkins. 

Cross Creek Hospitality is a partner of the Ascend program in West Virginia, other outdoor recreational companies and intends to resume live music festivals and wedding venues in the Spring of 2022. 

“I want [Big Draft Brewing] to be a place where people meet up, chitchat, and stay all day,” said Elkins. 

Hopeful for the future of small-town Appalachia, Elkins hopes to partner with other small-towns throughout West Virginia and encourage them to invest in a similar business model for their communities.

If you’d like to keep up with Clay and Big Draft Brewing, you can visit

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  • PIECE OF ADVICE:It’s hard. Get some great experience before you go for it. Eagerness and excitement only get you so far,” advised Elkins.