Friday, September 2, 2011

Something’s brewing in downtown Ketchum

Federal permit approval means local brewery can start making suds

Express Staff Writer

Nearly a year in the making, a local brewery in Ketchum is one step closer to a grand opening following a permit approval from the federal Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau.

The federal thumbs-up allows owners of the Sawtooth Brewery to begin beer production at their site on North Main Street in Ketchum. Kevin Jones, business manager, and Paul Holle, head brewer, also can begin planning taproom facilities, which they hope to open in October, one month ahead of schedule.

The brewery still must obtain approvals from state and local authorities before it can begin full operations.

The co-owners plan to introduce Sawtooth Brewery beer to the public at the Sun Valley Harvest Festival in late September.

The pair came to the valley a few years ago and noticed the absence of a hometown brewery.

"We thought, 'There should be one here,'" Jones said.

A local brewery would give residents something to call their own, he said, and would provide a unique drink for out-of-towners.

"You've got to sample the local fare," he said about visiting new places.

Jones brings an engineering/project management background to the job, while Holle has been home brewing for six years.

Both in their late 20s, single and mostly free from other obligations, Jones and Holle decided the time was right for them.

"We're both real passionate about it," Jones said.

The permit required the completion of a lengthy application. Proprietors also had to have equipment ready and space rented.

"It's a pretty major process," Jones said. "You have to have all your ducks in a row. It's definitely been a learning experience."

He said the permit approval means all their work is paying off, and allows them to move forward with their plans.

"That's why we're excited," he said.

Rebecca Meany:

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