We got the chance to chat with Holly, co-owner of one of Winchester’s newest breweries – Winchester Brew Works! It was such a delight to listen to her southern twang as she breezed through the questions. You can tell what kind of atmosphere there is at Winchester Brew Works just by her warmth and sincerity alone. We loved interviewing Holly, and we hope you’ll enjoy reading it just as much!
How does working at a brewery compare to your previous job endeavors?
“I was always on committees that would organize different events for the companies I worked for. This [owning a brewery] has just been way different! It’s all up to us, you know, me and my business partner, Bonnie, to do everything. It’s been all up to us to get our name out there. We designed our logo, we designed the interior of the tasting room… we have to constantly think about keeping consistency in our brand.”
Being a new business owner is tough work, and it is not for those weak of will. Holly seems to have found the correct formula that works for her and her business partner – and it’s certainly paying off by show of the numbers of people who walk into Winchester Brew Work’s front door!
“It’s been very educational, but it’s also been kind of overwhelming!”
How did you and Bonnie meet?
“We officially met back in 2010 or something…” she starts, and so the story unfolds. Originally friends by association of husbands, Bonnie and Holly became fast friends. Their friendships would eventually strengthen over a mutual love of home brewing.
“Owning a business with one other person that started out as your friend can be really hard, but we’ve just gotten to be closer; our relationship has gotten stronger.”
What’s the story behind the brewery? What finally made you guys decide to open it?
“Well, Bonnie was working at a large corporate company; she’d been there for several years. She’d always had an entrepreneurial spirit and kinda knew that eventually she’d own her own job or company. So she was the one who was initially like “Hey, why don’t we open up our own brewery?”
The team would make many visits into Winchester following that decision, where they spent time scoping out the area and meeting the locals. “We just fell in love with Winchester!”
“We just fell in love with Winchester!”
Which beer would you recommend and why? Or which beer is your favorite?
“Out of what we produce every year, my favorite beer is called the Big Schloss.” Sound familiar, Valley natives? You know the hike, and you’ve probably done it at least a dozen times. Big Schloss was named so by the German immigrants who landed here, and is roughly 4.4 miles of trail located in the George Washington National Forest. The view is phenomenal and beloved by many.
If you want to try this drink, you’ll have to wait until the temperatures drop to winter standards. So even if you can’t hike it in the snow, you can still enjoy it by drinking it at Winchester Brew Works! This bittersweet chocolate stout is their landmark beer of winter that “comes in at about 10% alcohol and is so smooth, so chocolate-y, and roast-y and delicious!” For now, it looks like we’ll just have to take Holly’s word on that!
Thank you so much for setting the time aside out of your busy schedule to chat, Holly. Make sure to check out Winchester Brew Works!