The Peddler brews up something new


Danite Belay

Jay Fox, head brewer for The Peddler’s new brewery. The Peddler is home to the first Huntington brewery since the late 1990s.

Danite Belay, Reporter

Until this month, the late 1990s was the last time Huntington has seen a brewery. Megan Hetzer, co-owner of The Peddler with her husband Drew, said opening a brewery has always been in the plans of their restaurant since it opened in 2014.

“Huntington doesn’t have a brewery, so we wanted to be a part of that change,” Hetzer said. “We wanted to bring craft beer to Huntington. People here are really getting into craft beer, so the revolution has finally come to our city, which is great.”

With the goal of opening a brewery in the future, Hetzer said they decided to open the restaurant aspect first. After giving it some time, Hetzer said they teamed up with Jay Fox, head brewer for The Peddler, to make their idea possible.

“I started home brewing about 20 years ago,” Fox said. “I was just passionate about it. I really liked craft beers, and it was hard to find back in the ‘90s when I was in college.”

Fox said in 2015, he went to a commercial brewing school in Vermont, got this opportunity with the Hetzers and jumped right in.

“I wear a lot of hats here,” Fox said. “Generally, if I’m not brewing, I have to deal with beer in the fermenters, kegging beer and cleaning stuff constantly. There’s so many things that you have to do during a brew day or week at the brewery.”

The opening menu, which includes a Blonde Ale, a Saison, a Chocolate Stout and a Hefeweizen, was decided by the Hetzers and Fox. Fox said they wanted to do a little bit of a wider variety of things just to get started.

“We’re just going to evolve from what we have now,” Hetzer said. “We’re going to do a lot of seasonal beers, like a Christmas beer, Oktoberfest and all of that fun stuff.”

Fox said having a brewery back in town excites many people, and that he’s just happy to be a part of it.

“The brewery has been really well-received from the community,” Fox said. “It’s a pretty humbling experience, so I’m looking forward to just pushing it onward.”

Hetzer said not only does the brewery differentiate The Peddler from other restaurants but it has a positive effect on the community.

“It gives people pride in their city to have a brewery in town,” Megan Hetzer said. “With new fun restaurants, not only us, but there’s a lot of community involvement going on right now with revitalizing the city and just making Huntington a place to be proud of.”

Hetzer said they are happy to be a part of this community and contribute what they do with the restaurant and the beer and hope to someday distribute their beer throughout the state.

Danite Belay can be contacted at [email protected]