Belleville

Downtown Belleville’s homebrewing store gets new name, new owner

Down the Hall Homebrew

The former Happy Hop Homebrew & Gourmet is now called Down the Hall Homebrew in downtown Belleville. Jeremy Hall is the new owner.
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The former Happy Hop Homebrew & Gourmet is now called Down the Hall Homebrew in downtown Belleville. Jeremy Hall is the new owner.

When Jeremy Hall first started brewing beer at home, he stored his equipment and concoctions in some spare space “down the hall.”

So with a play on his last name and his first place to brew beer, he named his new homebrewing business Down the Hall Homebrew.

Hall bought the former Happy Hop Homebrew & Gourmet from Christian Powell and recently celebrated his grand opening at 122 E. Main St. in downtown Belleville.

The shop has all of the equipment and ingredients you need to brew both beer wine at home.

“That’s a big part of the business,” Hall said of the wine kits offered at the store.

The store has all the hops, specialty grains, yeast, malt extracts, wine kits needed to make most recipes.

Hall plans to host demonstrations and classes on how to make beer and wine. Also, he may offer fresh grapes that could be used for wine making but that aspect has not yet been finalized.

Starting a small business

Hall began brewing beer at home after his wife, Susan Hall, gave him a beer making kit for Christmas.

Before Hall learned how to brew his own beer, he liked Budweiser. Now, sour beers are his favorite type. Sour beers can range from a tart-like lemonade taste to full face-puckering brews, Hall said.

“I’ve been brewing since 2011 and a customer here so about the time Christian decided he was looking to sell the place, I was looking to make a career change,” Hall said.

“It all just kind of came together.”

Susan and Jeremy Hall.JPG
Susan and Jeremy Hall have purchased the former former Happy Hop Homebrew & Gourmet in downtown Belleville and renamed it Down the Hall Homebrew. Mike Koziatek mkoziatek@bnd.com

Hall, who previously was an inventory control manager, said before he bought the business he received advice from the Illinois Small Business Development Center for the Metro East at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville.

Hall met with Jo Ann Di Maggio May, the director of the center. She assisted with his business plan and requirements for registering his business, according to a news release from the group.

“Mr. Hall has been dedicated and calculated in starting his business,” Di Maggio May said in a statement. “He is savvy and ready to take on this operation with his own twist. We are always happy to help and look forward to seeing Down the Hall Homebrew grow.”

Hall said he paid a nominal fee to attend a seminar hosted by the center but he did not have to pay for the center’s ongoing assistance.

The Halls live in Smithboro near Greenville in Bond County. Susan is a first-grade teacher in Mulberry Grove and is assisting with the store this summer.

They bought Happy Hop for an undisclosed price and are leasing the building from Powell with an option to buy it.

Downtown Belleville

Hall said he looks forward to working in downtown Belleville.

“We feel like it’s got a good amount of foot traffic,” Hall said. “There’s a lot of other businesses that draw in a lot of people and we just felt like it would be a good fit.”

Powell ran the homebrewing business for about seven years and before that it was known as Dave’s Homebrewing Supplies and operated by Dave Nagle for several years.

Hall joins a cadre of downtown shopkeepers and restaurant and bar owners who have praised the downtown streetscape renovation completed a decade ago.

“We’re really happy that it’s continuing as a local entity,” said Powell, whose wife, Andria Powell, owns the nearby Circa Boutique & Gifts at 128 E. Main St. The Powells are currently renovating the Circa shop.

“I think it was pretty important in the neighborhood for diversity of business,” he said. “It’s been there so long, it’s kind of a fixture. It was there for many years before I even took over.”

Powell, who parlayed his homebrewing experience into a position as assistant brewmaster for the Hofbräuhaus off Illinois 15 in Belleville, said he’s excited to see Hall’s efforts.

“He’s given it a good, fresh shot in the arm with new ideas, new products, new event planning and such in a different approach in marketing,” Powell said.

“I think it’s exactly what the shop needs. It’s great to see somebody so passionate about it.”

Questions?

For more information about making your own beer or wine, call 618-277-2550 or go to Down the Hall Homebrew on Facebook.

For more information about the Illinois Small Business Development Center for the Metro East at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, call 618-650-2929.

BEHIND OUR REPORTING

Why did we report this story?

We wanted to introduce BND readers to the new owners of an established downtown Belleville business. Jeremy Hall and his wife, Susan, have bought the former Happy Hop Homebrew & Gourmet shop on East Main Street and renamed it Down the Hall Homebrew.

Mike Koziatek joined the Belleville News-Democrat in 1998 as an assistant editor and is now a reporter covering the Belleville area. He graduated from Marquette University in Milwaukee and grew up in St. Louis.
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