Word from Huntington, WV, is good news for craft beer fans. With Drew and Megan Hetzer’s Backyard Pizza and Raw Bar now open for business, the couple’s focus will turn to building out The Peddler brewery and restaurant in the space next door.
Both Backyard Pizza and The Peddler had been closed since a July 2014 fire damaged the 4th Avenue building in which they were formerly located. To reestablish the businesses, the Hetzers leased the Vandalia 833 Building at 833 Third Avenue. For the past several months they have been busy at work to get Backyard Pizza reopened first.
The two businesses will be located side-by-side inside the Vandalia Building.
The old Peddler was a restaurant-only operation—the brewery portion was in its final planning stages when the fire hit. When the Hetzers open the new Peddler, it will open as a complete brewery restaurant.
The Peddler brewery equipment already delivered
Over the next six months, The Peddler will take shape. Interestingly, the brewhouse and fermentation equipment have already arrived and are being stored on-site. The brewery is based around a 10-barrel brewhouse with plenty of fermentation space. The long lead-time currently required for ordering new craft brewing equipment will not be a hold up here.
Co-owner Megan Hetzer said they wanted to get the equipment in place so they could do the build out at their own pace. As the brewery is installed and set up for production, The Peddler’s kitchen and interior will also be built out.
Hetzer said they will not rush the buildout because they want to get it right. They have a brewer selected who will oversee the set-up of the brewing equipment. It certainly does take a lot of time and funds to install the specialized plumbing and electrical required for brewery operation. Licensing can take a while too. A six-month time period would not be unusual or unexpected.
The Peddler restaurant-side will continue the gourmet-burger-themed cuisine of the original Peddler. We expect the brewery will make a variety of compatible beer styles, though the owners have not yet disclosed what folks can expect the opening line-up to be.
Moving fermentation upstairs
To open up more floor space for restaurant tables, the brewery will utilize a mezzanine level for its fermentation tanks. The stainless steel fermenters will be visible to the restaurant floor below.
As the brewery buildout is completed, we’ll be looking for more information on the styles of beer they will feature. If the Backyard Pizza tap selection is any indicator, the Peddler brewery will be producing a variety of popular craft beer styles.
The Peddler will be the first commercial brewery in Huntington since River & Rails closed in 1998. With its opening, expected in the first quarter of 2016, it will bring a welcomed end to an 18-year dry spell.