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Community and craft beer go hand-in-hand for Johnson City brewers

Jessica Fuller • Sep 24, 2018 at 11:28 AM

Next Community Event: Brews and Brats 

Eats: Brats provided by Me and K’s food truck

Music: Daniel Couper and Asher McGlothlin

When: Saturday at 4 p.m.

 

John and Jill Henritze’s brewery, JRH Brewing, opened along Walnut Street two years ago. Since the taps started pouring, the Henritzes has watched the slow progress of the revitalization of the old Model Mill next door, all while gearing up to push JRH’s selection farther out of the Tri-Cities and into new areas. 

Pushing production


Since opening, JRH has gone to formal distribution through Holston Distributing, putting cans on the shelves at grocery stores and kegs on taps around the area. Next, Henritze said the brewery is looking to move their product to Knoxville as a next step. 

He said he formally signed with Lipman Brothers Distributing to push JRH closer to middle Tennessee, beginning in Knoxville.

JRH has pushed out a popular seasonal, the Long Trek Harvest Ale, which is made with butternut squash and pumpkin pie spices, and one of John’s personal favorites.

 

Crafting Community 

John said he can trace a lot of his success over the past two and a half years back to the community, so JRH has adapted by hosting a slew of community events throughout the year to solidify JRH’s place as a neighborhood hangout. From story slams to yoga to beer parties and trivia, the brewery is always looking to draw familiar faces as well as new ones to the taproom. 

JRH hosts regular Yoga at 6:30 on Wednesday evenings, trivia at 7 p.m. on Thursdays and he said to keep an eye out for an axe-throwing league in the near future. 

“Johnson City has its regulars of craft beer consumption which is great,” John said. “I love the regulars – it’s not just people coming in and hanging out and drinking beer. It’s more like seeing friends and family more than anything else.

“Craft beer is more than craft beer, it’s a community.” 

 

Looking forward

JRH popped up on Walnut Street as the city began deliberations into the revitalization of that area of town. Henritze said he watches the progress on the Model Mill almost every day, but imagines what is in store for Walnut Street in the future – a restaurant here, a bakery there.

But most importantly, he said he hopes to see Walnut Street encompassed within the downtown Johnson City footprint one day, with JRH as a longstanding business right in the middle. 

Of course, that vision would be years down the road, but Henritze said he would like to see a splash of colored buildings, people employed and living downtown and tourism activity booming.

“I would love West Walnut Street to be an expansion of what downtown is,” he said. “You’ve got downtown that starts at (Interstate) 26, and it goes all the way to East Tennessee State University, and that’s downtown Johnson City.”

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