Family-run brewery opens today in Fruitland

2012-05-01T15:15:00Z 2012-05-01T15:23:22Z Family-run brewery opens today in FruitlandBY EVAN S. BENN • ebenn@post-dispatch.com > 314-340-8348 stltoday.com

John A. Huber Brewing Co. will officially open its doors at 4:30 p.m. today in Fruitland, about 100 miles south of St. Louis.

Huber, along with his sons, Matt and Chad, and his sister, have been busy since mid-March brewing Hubrew Blonde Ale. The brewery is self-distributing Hubrew in 22-ounce bottles and kegs to about 15 bars and restaurants in southeast Missouri

Huber Brewing hopes to "saturate Perry and Cape Girardeau" counties before expanding distribution north toward St. Louis, says Matt Huber, 27. The interest for craft beer is "expanding quickly" in the southern part of the state, he says.

John Huber got hooked on homebrewing in 2003 -- the beer that would become Hubrew was among his first batches -- and in 2009 opened Homebrew Supply of Southeast Missouri, which he runs on the brewery's property at 3463 State Highway FF.

"The homebrew shop was kind of a catalyst for opening a commercial brewery," Matt Huber says. "People would come in and try Dad's beer and really like it, so we figured we were doing something right."

The Hubers have a smoked porter and Irish red ale in the works.

Huber Brewing's four employees each continue to work full-time jobs while getting the brewery off the ground.

Company president and head brewery John Huber is a quarry foreman; CEO Matt Huber works at his alma mater Southeast Missouri State University; assistant brewer and COO Chad Huber, 24, is an electrician; and Delana Birkbigler, John Huber's sister, lives in St. Louis, works in the banking industry and is the brewery's CFO.

You can read more about the John A. Huber Brewing Co. on its website and Facebook page.

Hat tip to beer writer Joe Stange of thirstypilgrim.com for pointing me to the Hubers.

Evan S. Benn is the assistant editor of Go! magazine. He also writes about beer and food, and he is author of the 2011 Post-Dispatch book "Brew in the Lou: St. Louis' Beer Culture - Past, Present and Future," available here. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook.

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