JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) – Tennessee Hills Brewstillery officially opened its doors on Wednesday, marking a new step in the West Walnut Street redevelopment project.
“Growing up here in the local region, it’s always been a goal, especially a goal of mine, to get into downtown Johnson City before someone else opened up either a distillery or brewstillery here in this region,” Tennessee Hills owner and co-founder Stephen Callahan said. “It’s just a really big milestone.”
West Walnut Street connects downtown and East Tennessee State University. City leaders have been discussing redeveloping the formally industrial street for some time now.
“What we’re doing is all sorts of infrastructure work,” Johnson City Mayor Joe Wise said. “Water, sewer, storm water, putting new utility lines in, putting power, and so forth underground.”
The mayor said it’ll take about 30 to 36 months for the city’s infrastructure projects to be complete once beginning in August.
Wise said the City is working with about 30 million dollars. He said attracting businesses like the Brewstillery is exactly what he was hoping for.
“We want to set the stage for people to be successful in that area,” Wise said.
“Johnson City is a great place for this sort of operation, I think it’s definitely coming up,” brewing chemist Dave Lawrence said. “There’s a lot more enthusiasm for craft beer around here and craft spirits.”
“Renovations that they’re going to do this street, and our investment along this street, not only one location but our manufacturing facility down the road, I really think it’s going to be a regional draw into this area,” Callahan said. “It’s going to elevate Johnson City into more of a destination.”