Elizabethton’s first brewery looks toward fall opening

Published 11:17 am Thursday, July 28, 2022

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By Lynn J. RichardsonAs work moves forward to open Elizabethton’s first brewery, almost everything has changed about the building — a former service station located at 221 South Sycamore Street — that will be the new home of Appalachian Sun Brewery.
The structure is undergoing a complete transformation and work is progressing rapidly. But even with all that “new,” owner Jamie Kerr and his wife and co-owner, Traci, had always wondered about the “old” — the old building and the former businesses that occupied it.
Finally some information found in the Elizabethton Public Library’s Archives shed some light on its history.
Old Elizabethton City Directories show a number of different service stations occupied the Kerr’s building. The first was City Hall Service Station, operated by a number of different men from about 1951 until at least 1962. Jackson’s Service Station was there in the late 1960s, followed by a 1973 version of City Hall “Self Serv” Station. Phillips 66 arrived in 1976, becoming Walker’s Shell in 1978 and then Walker’s Phillips 66 from 1981-1983. There are no available directories from 1983 to 1989 — the year the building is listed as an auto repair business — J. J.’s Auto Repair. No later city directories were available.
Fast forward to 2022 and passers-by are watching the building get ready for yet another life. Fencing is scheduled for installation and concrete is set to be poured this week as weather allows — making the Kerrs hopeful for a fall 2022 opening date.
The roughly 1,400-square-foot building has been completely gutted. All new “everything” has replaced the old fixtures, electrical, HVAC, sewer and water lines.
All new windows and glass garage doors have been installed to allow for an abundance of natural light. The rustic industrial decor features neutral colors, an epoxy-coated concrete floor and wooden stand-up bar ledges.
A 12-foot wooden topped bar will span the interior, with bar seating for eight. In addition, there will be seating for 30-40 guests inside and more than 50 outside.
When open, Appalachian Sun Brewery will feature at least 12 craft beers, all celebrating Carter County. Some of Kerr’s more than 40 recipes that will be featured include Sycamore Shoals Stout, Stemwinder (the name of the old Tweetsie Railroad locomotive), the Bonnie Kate Kolsch, Iron Mountain Red and Watauga Wit.
The family-owned business will be family-friendly, Kerr says, as Appalachian Sun Brewery will also serve non-alcoholic craft sodas and have food trucks, including his own which will serve tacos and noodles.
With a background in environmental health and chemistry, Kerr has now been brewing beer for about ten years, a hobby that turned into a business venture.
“We were in the Seattle area and decided to make a side trip to a brewery,” he said. “They had just finished making beer, and I just fell in love with the smell while they were making it.
“This wasn’t the first time I’d been around freshly made beer. My dad had made some beer and wine at home, but he used kits and it just never smelled that way.
“This was unexpected, but I decided that when I got home this was something I just really wanted to do,” Kerr said.
“My wife thought I was crazy, but here we are. Getting to the point of having this business almost ready to open has been a somewhat bumpy road, with some setbacks along the way, but I’ve always wanted to move in this direction. Now I’ve ended up with my own building, so this will be my vision — not someone else’s — and here we are.”
History of Appalachian Sun Brewery Building*
  • 1951 – City Hall Service Station, operated by Aaron Young
  • 1954 – City Hall Service Station, operated by A.B. Young
  • 1957 – City Hall Service Station, operated by L.R. Lambert
  • 1959 – City Hall Service Station, operated by William F. Miller
  • 1962 – City Hall Service Station, operated by J.M. Potter
  • 1965 – Jackson’s Service Station, operated by Fred Jackson
  • 1973 – City Hall Self Serve Station
  • 1976 – Phillips 66 Service Station – (Shared space with Bogart Radio & TV Service)
  • 1978 – Walker’s Shell Service Station
  • 1981 – Walker’s Phillips 66
  • 1983 – Walker’s Phillips 66
  • 1989 – J.J. Auto Repairs operated by J.J. Wallace
 *Information obtained by the Elizabethton Star from available Elizabethton City Directories – 1948-1989 – in the archives at the Elizabethton Public Library

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