JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) – News Channel 11 is celebrating 70 Years on the air from Yee-Haw Brewing Co. in Johnson City on Wednesday, and while the craft brewery is a staple, it is far from the city’s only spot to grab a beer.
Craft breweries dot Johnson City’s downtown area, adding to the nightlife offering and creating spaces for family-friendly fun on certain event nights.
“Craft brewing, as you may know, it’s all about community,” Johnson City Brewing Company founder Eric Latham said. “It’s all about creativity.”
Johnson City Brewing Company opened in 2014, and several others would soon follow.
“Oct. 25, 2014, we opened up. We sold a lot of beer in that little place back in the King building on Main Street,” Latham said. “We saw over 600 people come through that day and we thought, ‘Maybe we have something here.'”
Johnson City Brewing’s craft beer is made off-site at a production facility in the city, where an average of 42 gallons of craft beer is made each day. That equates to more than 15,000 gallons or 500 barrels every year. Latham said the making of their beer is anything but routine.
“If you said to me you have to make the same four beers over and over, I probably wouldn’t do this business anymore,” Latham said. “So we like to create different things.”
Variety is no concern for beer-lovers in Johnson City. Downtown taprooms are not hard to find with Little Animals, Watauga Brewing, Johnson City Brewing, Yee-Haw, Atlantic Ale House, Great Oak Brewing and the Tennessee Hills Brewstillery all within short walks of one another.
“There is such a craze for craft beer,” Visit Johnson City Executive Director Brenda Whitson said. “People have such a love and passion for it. They will go to one brewery and maybe try a beer, get an appetizer, get something to eat and then go on to another brewery and do the same thing.”
City leaders are glad to have the wide array of beer options in the downtown area, believing it helps tie the people of the city closer to home.
“Craft beer means a sense of community in downtown, where you can come linger on the street, where you can talk to your favorite bartender, and you can have a sense of community,” Johnson City Development Authority Executive Director Patricia Oldham said.
With all of the bubbly options, it’s no wonder the Thirsty Orange Beer Festival calls Johnson City home each year. Brewers aplenty bring their beers to the festival, which brings hundreds of visitors to Downtown Johnson City.
“It’s just another avenue for people to get together and then a rare opportunity for all the breweries to get together and see each other,” Latham said of the festival.
Yee-Haw is hosting a pint night while News Channel 11 celebrates its anniversary. For each pint sold Wednesday night, a dollar will be donated to the local Family Justice Center.