By K.D. Norris
After nearly 10 years of working a small business plan, and recent action by the City of Wyoming, TwoGuys Brewing has taken over an old firehouse and a rundown one-time 7-Eleven convenience store in the Wyoming Park neighborhood and — with any luck to match hard work — should be serving up craft beer for guys and gals who like microbrews in 2017.
“Now its about six months of demolition and renovation, were we turn this ugly old 7-Eleven into a beautiful tap room,” Tom Payne, managing partner and brewmaster of TwoGuys Brewing, said Nov. 10 at a friends-and-neighbors open house at what will be the new brewpub. “We are hopeful for September 1” to open.
“This business came about about 10 years ago,” he said. “I realized I was not just another home brewer, at least I did not think so. I had entered beer in outside competition, outside of just (treating) my normal friends, and it was taken very well. I said ‘You know what? I think we’ve got something here.’ And then my wife and I, after hours and hours of talking, we said ‘This is something we are going to do.’ At that time we put together a 10-year plan, and we are at the end of that 10 years. It is time for TwoGuys Brewing to open.”
Opening the brewery and brewpub involved the leasing of two buildings located across from each other on Porter Street SW, the old 7-Eleven at 2356 Porter Street SW and an unused fire station at 2385.
The leasing of the fire station to Tamaz LLC (an LLC doing business as TwoGuys Brewery) by the city was part of three actions taken by the Wyoming City Council in late November. The actions included granting the business a liquor license, a waiver of city zoning code to allow for the sale of alcohol within a certain distance from a church or residential area, and the lease of the old fire station, which had been used by the city for a meter shop and a temporary laboratory but was currently vacant.
City support of business
“The City of Wyoming has been absolutely instrumental in this,” Payne said. “We approached the city three or four months ago, we completely laid out our business plan and what we wanted to bring to Wyoming Park. They put together a timeline … a ‘we need you to do this and we need you to do this’, and we have done everything the city has asked for. … They have been fantastic.”
Wyoming City Manager Curtis Holt made clear the reason for the city’s actions:
“Our region is increasingly embracing craft beer,” Holt said. “You can look around our community and see the many brewpubs that have sprung up over the last five years. We are pleased that TwoGuys Brewing has identified Wyoming as its location and feel that it will be a welcomed by the neighbors — and by Wyoming residents in general.”
Several of those neighbors visited the open house on Dec. 10 as well, and Payne said he expects to be an attribute to the neighborhood.
“The biggest reason (for placing their business in Wyoming) is that this is where we live, my wife and I,” he said. “I grew up in Wyoming Park. I graduated from Wyoming Park. I have lived, aside from my time in the Marine Corps, in this area and it has always been my home. When we decided to open up our brewery, it was going to be where we live and provide our neighbors with something they could certainly be proud of.”
About that name …
And the name of of TwoGuys? Where did it come from?
“10 years ago, there was me and one of my best friends, Charlie, I had gotten him started brewing,” he said. “So, long story (made short), we entered another competition and took best of show on an IPA (India Pale Ale), which at the time had no name. We brewed this beer at Founders. We brewed 10 barrels having won the best of show. … About half an hour before tapping, Founders said ‘You guys need to name this thing something.’ I told them ‘Its just the two of us, we are just two guys, so how about TwoGuys IPA?’”
Now, though, the name takes on another context, Payne said.
“Our TwoGuys, today, is, well … everybody’s two guys. You’re the other guy. My grandson is the other guy. Everybody is the other guy. I am just one guy. It is all about community, which is what brought us to Wyoming Park. … I will consider every guest that comes into these doors, starting next year, as the family, as the other guy.”
Plans at this point the business will focus on an array of craft-brewed beers — maybe wines, meads and sodas — as well as what the business calls a “pub-centric” menu of food. Payne’s brewer pedigree includes his having been involved with Osgood Brewing in Grandville as well as head brewer at 57 Brewpub and Bistro in Greenville.
“We are going to focus on traditional styles, beers that you don’t necessarily find everywhere else,” he said. “A lot of English style ales that no one brews around here … I am not knocking any other brewery in town, there are some fantastic ones, but it is going to be all about the other guy, what they like.”
Tentatively, seating at the brewpub will be for about 80 with a possible outdoor patio planned. The property has about 18 parking spaces in front, with about 50 possible behind the building and another 25 or so across the street at the old firehouse.