BRISTOL, Tenn. – The taps are expected to start flowing in May at the Holston River Brewing Company, the first microbrewery in Bristol, Tenn.
“We have gotten lots of positive feedback,” owner Jimmie Daugherty said Thursday. “We have been contacted by several restaurants.”
Daugherty owned a couple of small businesses, including a home health business and sold them about a year ago. He and his wife decided to open a microbrewery and looked at several locations in Bristol, Va., including the former CityMac building on State Street.
A friend told him about a space on Race Way Villa Road near Bristol Motor Speedway. The 6,200-square-foot warehouse once housed a monster truck company.
Daugherty liked the space and began talking with city officials.
“We didn’t have a microbrewery in place,” Bristol, Tenn., Codes Administrator Karl Cooler said. “It was between a manufacturing facility and a night club.”
The city modified zoning codes and found a way for the brewery to operate.
Daugherty plans to renovate part of the space for the brewery and the other part of the space will be a taproom, where beer will be sold, and a special event area.
“The city has been easy to work with, from codes to business development,” Daugherty said. “As a small business owner, I have found a very different environment in Tennessee.”
He wants to start small. Daugherty has purchased a used five-barrel brewing system from the 49 th State Brewing Company in Alaska. A barrel is a standard unit of measurement for beer. One barrel equals 43 gallons.
“They just loaded it on the truck,” said Daugherty of the brewing equipment.
The brewery plans five standard beers and eventually wants a total of eight to nine beers. Daugherty said Tennessee’s brewing laws limit the alcohol content in beer to 6.2 percent, so he will not be able to brew any high-gravity beers.
Eventually, Daugherty wants to have live music on the weekends and make the place a local hangout. He also expects to sell beer to local restaurants.
“We are not going to self-distribute,” Daugherty said. “We could, but we won’t.”
The renovation will cost around $500,000. Daugherty says he homebrews, but has hired a professional brewer.
He expects to open in middle to late May.
“We are very excited,” Daugherty said.
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