A new craft beer brewery is coming to Waco, hoping to land downtown and be a center for people with the same passion to swap stories over drinks.
An opening date remains elusive for the trio launching Brotherwell Brewing as they work to secure a location. But if they moved in tomorrow, they said, it would take only six months to get it ready.
David Stoneking, Tommy Mote and Jacob Martinka have been looking for a space to call home for three months. Stoneking, 27, said they are in negotiations for a space downtown and recently met with engineers and architects.
“If it will work, we could potentially be moving on it very quickly,” he said. “We love downtown. It’s good for business. It’s good for exposure and it’s a more romantic thing right now.”
Martinka, 31, said they hope to secure a space with 4,000 to 5,000 square feet and the ability to expand.
“The downtown culture is gaining so much attention,” Martinka said. “I love hearing people getting excited about downtown Waco and we want to be a part of that. We want to be one of the things to do on Saturday, you go to the farmers market, but then you come over, because it’s just a cool place to hang out.”
The three have been homebrewing for about a decade. Stoneking said Mote has spent the past year in Portland, Oregon, professionally brewing. Mote helped start a brewery there, so he knows the inner workings of the business, he said.
“His knowledge is invaluable,” Stoneking said.
Even before opening, Brotherwell Brewing’s doors, they have contacted several businesses about the possibility of selling their beer.
Barnett’s Pub owner Trey Jansing said in the beer world, there’s nothing more important than helping local craft breweries.
Jansing said the men behind Brotherwell Brewing have a real drive for the craft. He said he can’t wait to carry their beers in the pub at 420 Franklin Ave.
“They are very intelligent, not just beer intelligent, they are super intelligent,” Jansing said.
Jansing said customers from out of town often ask, “Do you have any local beer?”
“It almost feels like an obligation,” Jansing said. “Not only are these guys my friends, they’re smart and they want to help the local community. They’re here to help Waco and put it on the map. I can’t wait. I’m excited.”
Barnett’s Pub reopened for business Friday. It had been closed since New Year’s Day by previous owner Tom Chase, but Jansing — who was the pub’s manager — bought the pub and made some renovations.
Martinka said they have met with the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission to discuss the process, but can’t secure permits until a location is secured. The trio came together five years ago to swap stories and ideas.
“It was just serendipitous,” Martinka said. “Friendships just kind of come together like that.”
Martinka, a fifth-grade teacher at Live Oak Classical School, and Stoneking, owner of Karis Productions, said they are pooling their money, with help from family, to start the brewery.
“We have enough to carry us a ways and what we’re trying to build now is that operations safety net,” Stoneking said.
Stoneking said Martinka and Mote will work full time, and he will work part time, continuing his job for the video production company.
While they would like to have an on-site presence for tours, the bulk of the work will be making, packaging and selling to local businesses.
Paxton Dove, owner of The Dancing Bear Pub, said he has spoken with representatives from both Brotherwell Brewing and Bare Arms Brewing about carrying their beers.
“Man, their pale ale is really good,” he said about Brotherwell Brewing. “I’m kind of excited.”
Bare Arms Brewing, 2515 La Salle Ave., plans on brewing and selling beer as soon as it opens. Bare Arms Brewing did not return messages for this story.
Dove said the opening of two breweries in Waco is exciting. The Dancing Bear Pub, 1117 Speight Ave., is going into its eighth year, and frequently rotates the craft beers it sells. Dove said when he first opened, there were few places to purchase local craft beers, and now, walking into the new H-E-B on Valley Mills Drive, customers are greeted by an entire row of local and craft beers.
Martinka said they have developed dozens of recipes through the years, but his fallback is what they are calling the Percy Porter. He said it is a dark, chocolatey beer, with a hint of the taste of coffee and a dry finish.
“It’s just delicious,” he said. “It’s my go-to. Whenever we brew a bad batch, which happens every once in a while, or when we’ve experimented with something that didn’t quite work out, it’s always good to go back to this one, to know that it’s going to be there.”
Stoneking said their recipes will be inherently unique, a common trait among brewers because it’s actually hard to copy another recipe.
“The craft culture is so underserved here,” Stoneking said. “There is a small community that will buy no matter what. They’ve bought into the idea. What we would like to do is reach those people who have been drinking the same three or four beers their whole life and we want to give them a reason to just try something else. Maybe they like it, maybe they don’t.”
Once the brewery is up and running, Stoneking said, they would like to host events, tours and just generally open up the space to the public. He said he would like to encourage local homebrewers to come together at the brewery to swap stories, share beers and discuss the craft.
“There’s a bunch of little pockets of people who are doing it and it would be great to provide a space where they can all come together,” Stoneking said.