For the record we all hate having our photo taken LOL.
Meyers Creek Brewing Company is equally owned by me Gretta Barnwell (I’m in the middle) and my partners Bill Barnwell (he is the guy with the beard on the right) and Rick Stinchcombe (and by process of elimination Rick on my left). Bill and I are married and we met and became friends with Rick through our children, who were in the same school program together.
Our story starts, as with all good stories, with friends, food and drinks. As with most parents, dinner with a mix of tweens can sometimes be “challenging”. In an effort to stay sane a group of parents came together to form a regular potluck gathering to give us all a break. These potlucks cycled around between each of our group’s homes and on one fateful night, at Rick’s home, the idea of a brewery moved out of the realm of maybe to a possibility.
Let me take a quick step back before I get ahead of myself. It was during this time Bill and I were regularly creating both wine and beer at home for our own entertainment, much to the delight of our friends. Our children were getting older and more self-sufficient so Bill and I had been having conversations about a hazy future where we would like to open our own brewery. Unbeknown to us Rick, who had done some of his own home brewing, was also contemplating new business ventures.
On this fateful night Bill had brought a new beer he created to our weekly potluck and it was being met with rave reviews. Folks in the room were being very vocal about how they thought we should be selling this “stuff” to which Bill and I, for the first time, indicated we were thinking about it. Rick overheard this and immediately chimed in that this was something he would be interested in. I don’t think I’ll ever forget that moment as cheesy as it sounds. Time did slow down and though it was loud with the sounds of children running about and the laughter of our friends it became quiet for the three of us while we shared this equally shocked and delighted look of hey this is a real possibility. That was it, right there, we quickly made a sketchy plan to get together in the next day or so to have a serious chat.
It would be fun to say we quickly got a plan together and shortly after it happened, but that would be lying. That potluck happened in the fall of 2016, it took us a year to get our business plan together, more than a year to find the right building, two years to work through all of the licensing and permits and it’s taken us a year since to get up and running. This has been the most rewarding but also frustrating, exhausting, fun, amazing, test of patience and perseverance of a trip for all of us. We aren’t quite where we thought we would be but none of us could have predicted a pandemic. What we are is open, selling amazing beer, and as we work towards our taproom opening later this year it seems like the right time to acknowledge how far we have come.