A local automotive service manager in northern York County is looking to trade in one job for another as he pursues his dream of brewing beer professionally.
Brooks Hemauer, a service manager at Faulkner Infiniti who has been homebrewing for about four years, plans to convert the garage at his Warrington Township home into a small brewing operation that would not be open to the public.
Hemauer Brewing Co. would self-distribute its beer to local bars and restaurants, maybe as early as the second quarter of 2018, while working toward opening its own tasting room in downtown Dillsburg by 2019.
Hemauer came before the township’s zoning hearing board on Tuesday, where he was granted a special exception to brew beer as a rural occupation in the rural agricultural zone where he lives. It isn’t a permitted use under the township’s zoning ordinance.
With the local board’s approval, Hemauer said he will move forward with state and federal licensing approvals, as well as renovations, to begin making beer at his Cabin Hollow Road property.
Hemauer said having a home-based brewery gives him greater control over startup costs and more flexibility to manage his time between his full-time job, the brewery and his family life.
The 33-year-old has spent his entire adult life working in the auto industry. He said it’s a “scary time” because starting a brewery is a big investment and he may eventually have to turn his back on a 15-year career if the craft brewery takes off.
However, he also said he was excited for his new path given the continued rise of craft breweries in the U.S. Hemauer Brewing is something that could help attract visitors and propel business growth in Dillsburg.
“I want to be the local destination and try to grow the area as best as we can,” he said.
Hemauer has been attending local beer festivals to get his name out there, as well as samples of his beer. The effort has helped him develop relationships with other local brewers.
His plan, he said, is to brew five to seven flagship styles of beer. He also will look at making seasonal beers and experimenting with other small-batch brews for the local tasting room.
He said he could see making special styles to coincide with annual events in Dillsburg, including the New Year’s Eve Pickle Drop. He already has recipes for a dill-pickle pale ale.
Over time, Hemauer said he would like to get into barrel-aged beers and other styles that take longer to produce.
“We’ll grow as large as we can and whatever the area will support,” he said. “My focus is on quality and reinvesting in the local community.”
Hemauer hopes to be able to make special beers to support community organizations, including firefighters and the police. He also said he is interested in partnering with local restaurants on food options for the tasting room.
“We want a town tap room where people can congregate together,” he said in an email.