Watchtower Brewing Company
We’re building something great!
Good people, good beer, good life.
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How This Started
Like many others out there, I started out pretty simply. While I was out one night, I stopped by a store and saw a Mr. Beer kit for sale, so I decided to give it a shot. I made two simple batches with it that were about as good as you’d expect from a kit and a person having no knowledge of what they were doing. The beer wasn’t bad, it just wasn’t anything special. From there, I moved on to doing extracts on the stove and then to partial mashes and finally to all grain after maybe a dozen or so 5-gallon extract/partial mash batches. I went to my local homebrew shop and talked with the owner, Tom. He gave me great advice, which was to start simple in order to understand the ingredients. He helped me design my first batch. To be honest, he really did it all – I just listened. It was a Double IPA that I still make today. I had caught the bug and caught it hard!
Having made a number of nice beers and wanting to do something in the hospitality industry for decades, I talked with my good friend Phil Rhudy who owns Independent Brewing in Bel Air, Maryland. He gave me the best advice anyone could have given me at the time, “You’re not ready.”
Here I was prepared to take the leap and start right away looking for a location — that was 2016. While that is not the advice I wanted to hear, it was the advice I needed. I took Phil’s words to heart and I began to study. I created a 300sf brewery in my home to hone my skills. I built a fully electric system with vent hood, pumps, conical fermentors, and glycol chiller. This set up is similar to the pilot systems many small breweries use. Once I had the perfect system I needed to brew and experiment and learn, I sought out to do just that. I studied and brewed. A lot! I hosted tastings for friends and professionals. I devoured as much information about beer and the industry as I could. Oh, and I brewed more, a lot more. I visited trade shows, talked to every expert I could track down, and brewed more. Did I mention that I studied and brewed?
With all of that experience under my belt, I felt it was time start developing my own brand and personality around the beers I was crafting. From there I started looking for a location. I have a clear vision for what I want to build. What does that look like? I don’t know. I’m still in negotiations with a few landlords looking for the perfect location, so yeah, I don’t know what it looks like. But I know exactly what it is going to be. I want to build an experience for people who love good beer and hanging out with like-minded folk. I am building a place to celebrate Good People, Good Beer, and the Good Life. In fact, it’s our tagline: Good People, Good Beer, Good Life.
What are you working to build?
Anyone with the right knowledge can build a brewery, but not everyone can build a community. I have already started to do just that. I have been a valued member of my local homebrew club, the Brewers Association of Maryland, The National Brewers Association, and the MD Homebrew Guild. It is a great support system besides making lifelong friends, I’ve learned a lot, and started to build a following. I’m regularly asked about sharing my brews with friends – remember those tastings I mentioned. Yeah, most of them happen now because of the following I have grown. There’s no better satisfaction than pouring the beer you slaved over to see it enjoyed at a craft beer festival. Not to mention the feeling I had when I saw the line for people waiting to see me was longer than for the pros. Since attending the Friendship Craft Beer Festival, things have really taken off. I get stopped from people who recognized me there even today, two years later. My first time in attendance there was 2019, and we all know what happened in March of 2020. Because of the pandemic the festival was skipped. When it started back up in 2021, I was surprised to see so many people looking for me. Yes, they liked my pours, but people were there to see ME. That’s when I realized I was on to something. I needed to build a bigger community for Good People, Good Beer, Good Life. I believe the recipe for a great tasting beer begins and ends with people.
At Watchtower, our philosophy will be reflected in our interactions with the community and the relationships we foster with our employees and patrons. The origins of Watchtower come from the love of a craft. The product of that craft fosters an environment where people just flat out enjoy being together. When people think of Watchtower Brewing Company, we want them to think “Good People, Good Beer, Good Life.”
I envision a facility that is around 8,000 square feet with one quarter of that space dedicated to the brewery. Most of the remaining space will be dedicated to old and new friends – our community. I’m working hard to make this dream a reality and I’m so close. But, let’s be honest for a minute, I could use some help. If you’d like to be a part of building a community celebrating good people, good beer, and the good life, please consider checking out some of our merch, or support us on Kickstarter.