TBL 002: Tennessee Valley Brewing Company

starting a brewery


This week I sat down with Eric Brannstrom over at Tennessee Valley Brewing Company. Eric and Wendy Brannstrom are the perfect example of what a husband and wife can accomplish together when opening a brewery. I swear anytime you go into that place you just couldn’t feel more welcome. Without further ado onto the interview — PODCAST ENGAGE!

Show Notes

  • 00:47 Start of the Interview
  • 02:37 What was the first beer you tried?
  • 03:28 What did you do before becoming a brewer?
  • 06:07 What led to opening a brewery?
  •  07:01 What size of brewery are you?
  • 07:40 When do you brew?
  • 08:08 How did you go about financing the brewery?
  • 10:12 What was one of the biggest hurdles to opening at this location?
  • 11:28 How long did it take for your brewer’s notice to come back?
  • 13:23 Before inspection did you have anyone come in ahead of time?
  • 14:09 How long were you doing the buildup?
  • 16:00 Did your landlord charge you rent while you were improving the building before opening?
  • 16:45 Did you find anything surprisingly easy about the process?
  • 18:27 Why Clarkesville, TN for the location?
  • 20:00 What’s your recipe development process like and where does your inspiration come from?
  • 22:01 Keeping up a rotation on taps and having an assistant brewer.
  • 24:49 What size is your brewing system?
  • 25:54 When do you pitch your yeast?
  • 26:31 What kind of yeast are you using?
  • 27:58 What are some the challenges you face with a 3 BBL system?
  • 30:01 What kind of sour beers are you doing?
  • 31:02 What are some of the advantages with the 3 BBL system?
  • 32:27 Do you have any beers that you’ve made your flagships?
  • 34:38 Who is the manufacturer of your system and what was it like going through the process?
  • 38:00 What do you do with your spent grains?
  • 38:42 Do you have any recycle procedures for your water?
  • 40:25 How is the saved hot water put to use?
  • 41:10 Why did you choose an electric brewing system?
  • 42:18 How do you manage fermentation temperatures?
  • 42:59 How did you learn to brew on your system?
  • 43:39 Do you use a software for your process?
  • 45:38 Where was the discrepancy between software and system?
  • 46:32 Are you currently distributing your beer?
  • 48:39 Are you still doing food trucks?
  • 49:34 Has it been a benefit having food trucks over an internal food source?
  • 50:41 What’s something you’d tell yourself starting out?
  • 51:40 Is there anything that you would have done differently?
  • 52:34 How can our listeners contact you?
Once again that was Eric Brannstrom with Tennessee Valley Brewing Company in Clarksville, TN. Something we didn’t get around to talking about in the interview was their mug club. Basically you pay a fee, and get a mug that stays at the brewery. It adds a few extra ounces to every one of  your beers, but the part I thought was really special was for the soldiers that are part of the club. Whenever a soldier is deployed, its indicated on the mug, and patrons of Tennessee Valley can buy that soldier a beer while they’re away, and then once they get back they can cash it in. Pretty awesome stuff.


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Keep on Brewin’!


Michael Heuer
The Brewer’s Life


If you missed our last episode check it out here!


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