Abettor place: Winchester native returns to start brewery
For Tyler Montgomery, starting a brewery in downtown Winchester “just made sense after a while.”
Montgomery, the owner of Abettor Brewing Company and publisher of The Brewer Magazine, is a Winchester native who moved back to his hometown from Louisville with hopes to open a “nanobrewery” in the heart of the city.
Montgomery is no stranger to the brewing industry. He brews craft beer at his home, and says his time as publisher of The Brewer has given him six years of study in the field, including talking with high-ranking members of large and small breweries alike.
He said he first got the idea for a small brewery while spending time at the microbreweries in Louisville with his friends and family.
“We would sit in Louisville and think ‘it would be cool to have something like this in Winchester,” Montgomery said.
He said he had even toyed with the idea of renovating the Sphar Building on Main Street to turn it into a brewery, but eventually decided against the idea because of the size of the building and the investment that would be required to renovate it.
But Montgomery didn’t give up on the idea of a brewery downtown, a place where people could stop to get a locally-brewed beverage going to or from the Red Rover Gorge or even on a road trip to Lexington or Louisville.
He said the timing for development is right because of a recent uptick in interest for the downtown area.
“I think there’s a push here from young people to make Winchester more of a destination that wasn’t happening when I was growing up,” he said.
Currently, Montgomery is looking at opening the brewery in a now vacant building next to the Engine House Deli and Pub. He said the brewery will include a single-barrel system with a tap room. Because the building, which had most recently been owned and used by an architecture firm, will need some renovations to function as a brewery, Montgomery said he isn’t sure what the final capacity of the building will be yet.
The brewery will also operate in tandem with The Brewer Magazine, Montgomery said,
“I want it to be as transparent and open to people as possible,” he said.
Montgomery said that running the brewery will give him the opportunity to experience the industry he has spent years covering from a new angle, and as a result he will be able to write about his experiences in an effort to help educate others.
“We’ll be able to share new ideas and what worked for us and what didn’t,” he said.
He said he views the symbiotic relationship between the two entities as a strength, not only for the magazine and the brewery, but for the entire brewing community, giving firsthand examples to help the industry improve.
Improvement is at the heart of Abettor’s name as well.
Montgomery said he and his wife wracked their brains thinking about what to call the new business, but couldn’t settle on a name. Montgomery then had a spark of inspiration one day while watching TV.
“A character in a show said that the entrepreneurs of today are the cowboys of yesterday,” Montgomery said. “They take risks but help society grow into a better place.”
After hearing those words, Montgomery said he went to work playing around with the phrase with some of his publication tools, eventually settling on “Abettor Brewing Company” or ABC.
He said he feels that same entrepreneurial spirit in downtown Winchester now, which has inspired him to continue pursuing his dream.
Montgomery said that he tentatively would like to see Abettor open its doors this fall. However, he said there is still a lengthy process his company needs to go through in order to get up and running, and while everyone in the industry from the federal regulatory agency down has been helpful, delays could still be possible.