It’s always a good sign when you discover that you and your wife have the same dream. And when that dream involves making beer? Even better.
That’s how Fall River Brewing Company began, after John and Amanda Hutchings wrote out separate “bucket lists” in the winter of 2011. One item on both lists was owning a business. John was a construction project manager with a passion for home brewing, and he would come home from work and make beer until the early morning hours. That passion grew as John learned more about the craft, and he and Amanda decided to take a leap, opening their brewery in their garage. They quickly outgrew that space, and expanded into a converted airplane hangar in their beloved Fall River Mills.
“People said we chose the stupidest place ever to start a brewery,” John says with a laugh. “But it came back to how much we love this valley and the surrounding area. This place has its own aura about it – it’s really magical. It’s a small community that was left 30 or 40 years in the past, and that’s what makes it special.”
Today, they have a taphouse at 1030 East Cypress Avenue in Redding, and their beer is distributed in kegs and bottles all over Northern California. They’re talking about finding a larger location for their growing business.
Their staff has also grown over the years. Taphouse Manager Brent Hawkins grew up with John, has a passion for craft beer and has worked in the service industry for a decade. Brewmaster Clay Brackley is a self-taught brewmaster who has worked at world-renowned breweries, and is especially skilled in the art of making microbrews.
The Hutchings brew their beer on a 15-barrel system, and a wide selection of hand-crafted ales and lagers is available daily at the taphouse. Popular pours include Cutthroat Red IPA, Hexagenia IPA, Widowmaker Double IPA and Pacific Crest Pale Ale. Irish Coffee Cream Stout was a hit over St. Patrick’s Day.
“Making beer is a lot of fun – it’s definitely something that kind of makes you pinch yourself in the morning when you get to do that for your job,” John says. “It’s a blend of being artistic as well as being a little sciency. It’s a right-brain, left-brain thing, which is the part I love about it the most.”