March 20th, 2014 3:48 pm by Amanda Marsh
Before the hoppy notes of a home-brewed beer land on a happy pallet, the ingredients are carefully considered.
Kevin Collins, owner of Ozark Mountains Brewing Supplies, helps each customer find the perfect ingredients and equipment for beer and wine making. His shelves hold more than 50 varieties of hops and strains of yeast, plus 75 different grains, among a collection of items like bottle fermenters and siphon hose.
Collins didn’t intend to keep a large inventory, but local home brewers spoke, and he listened.
“This is a shop that the craft beer brewers and craft wine makers have built,” Collins said. “We’ve tried to carry what they want and this is where it’s taken us.”
It’s been almost two years since the family-owned store moved to downtown Kingsport from West Plains, Mo. A job transfer helped Collins see the potential of bringing his brewing supplies to Tennessee. It didn’t take long to realize that he had set up shop among many talented home brewers willing to travel from as far as Knoxville and Kentucky to purchase items at Ozark Mountains Brewing Supplies.
Collins has more than 10 years of home-brewing experience. On a typical day, he might talk jockey boxes with skilled beer-makers before helping a novice craft wine maker collect ingredients for a recipe.
“Our objective is to give everyone the knowledge and the confidence they need to start home brewing and where they go from there is up to them,” Collins said.
Attending a free all-grain brew demonstration is a great way to see the brewing process first hand. Collins teaches simple single-infusion outside Ozark Mountains Brewing Supplies the second Saturday of each month, during fair weather conditions. The monthly demonstrations will resume May 10.
An investment of $200-$300 will get a new brewer everything he or she needs to get started. Wine ingredient kits, extract and all grain brewing are popular with new hobbyists.
“The craft beverage movement in America is a tidal wave,” Collins said. “So many individuals now identify with this and realize that there’s more out there to discover. Many of us enjoy making it as much as we do tasting it.”
Since moving into Suite 112 at 217 Broad Street, Ozark Mountains Brewing Supplies has continued to exceed all expectations. Fierce competition from the internet makes business planning difficult, but demand for new supplies caused the store to outgrow its current space. Collins has secured a new storefront location at 215 Commerce Street, which is set to open soon.
“Our customers’ hearts are in the right place because they want to support a local business and come in and actually see the product, taste the grain, before getting it,” Collins said.
Loyal customers such as Matt Ford of Jonesborough appreciate the ability to see the beer-brewing equipment and ingredients first hand while getting advice from a person and not a web page. Collins warns that shopping online is great, but “credit cards have no answers.”
For more information, go to ozarkmountainsbrewingsupplies.com, call 423-229-7000 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. For updates on the opening of the new location, follow Ozark Mountains Brewing Supplies on Facebook. Store hours are from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Saturday, and noon to 5 p.m., Sunday.