What started out as a hobby has turned into Meyers Creek Brewing Company, a community brewery located in Belleville’s east end and owned by Gretta and Bill Barnwell and Rick Stinchcombe.
“We started out home brewing, but the thing is you can only drink so much beer, so we began sharing what we were making with friends and family,” says Gretta Barnwell. Bill and Gretta are married and became friends with Rick through their children.
“Sharing that beer was where it all started, and it just snowballed from there. Our desire to build a brewery really grew out of a desire to share the fun we were having brewing with a wider community.”
The trio decided to bring their passion for brewing to the community and officially opened Meyers Creek Brewing Company at 60 Dundas St. E. Belleville.
Barnwell says they faced many barriers when launching the business, including difficulty finding a location to house their retail store and taproom but also to handle their manufacturing requirements.
“We wanted to be within walking distance of the east end where we all live and we wanted to be close to the marina and downtown,” she says. “The city had never had a business like us in an urban setting so there was a learning curve for everyone as we all figured out what we could and couldn’t do.”
Like many small businesses, Barnwell says the pandemic has also had a negative impact on the business. Timelines were changed, construction work slowed, and the taproom is still under renovation. The initial business plan also didn’t account for the amount of canning and bottling they currently do and the costs associated with it.
“COVID made and continues to make for unexpected changes,” says Barnwell. “Fortunately, there are three of us and if one of us is having a bad day the other two help lift the third.”
Although the taproom remains incomplete, Meyers Creek Brewing Company was able to have a parking lot patio open over the summer and continues to serve customers through the retail section of the brewery.
As of right now, the brewery has 12 variations of beer stocked in its retail store with some of the beers being seasonal.
“We had lots of fun last summer showcasing talented musicians and makers, it’s something we plan to continue,” Barnwell says. “For the upcoming year we will of course have our taproom open and with it comes our porch space and additional parking lot patio.”
The Bay of Quinte community is home, says Barnwell, making it the obvious choice to bring the brewery to life.
“We live here, our children grew up here and our friends and family are here,” she says. “We know the community, we listen to the people, we speak with, and we pay attention to what’s important to all of us.”
“Everyone has been wonderful,” says Barnwell. “From the first meeting right on to helping us get other grants, working with us for repayment options and always being available to field questions and concerns. We can’t thank all of the staff at Trenval enough for all of their invaluable knowledge, support and understanding.”
Trenval Business Development Corporation is Bay of Quinte’s Community Futures Business Specialist, financing small business start-ups, expansions or successions in the Quinte region for 34 years.
Do you have a business plan that you would like to bring to fruition? Contact Trenval at 613-961-7999.