Calling All Brewmasters

ASHVILLE – If you enjoy a flavorful glass of wine or an ice cold beer, try making them yourself.

If this is a challenge you are willing to take or if you already have experience, then there is a new business that can supply you with all the necessary equipment, materials and ingredients needed to produce your own. Grains & Grapes Homebrew Supply is located at 2334 W. Lake Road, Route 394, Ashville, which is near Smith Boys. Rich Starks is the owner of the business and has been producing his own homemade beer and wine for seven years. Starks said his business is the only store that specializes in homebrewing in the Jamestown area.

“Home beer brewing and wine making are fun and enjoyable hobbies that anyone can do,” he said. “If you can boil water, you can make your own beer. Nothing is more rewarding than walking into a party carrying a keg of your own handmade beer or serving your own wine to guests at your home. We can show you how.”

Starks is an avid homebrewer and said he has won awards, including several “Best in Show,” in several homebrewing competitions. He said he received the bronze award in the bock beer category at the Amber Waves Of Grain competition in Buffalo recently.

“We go to competitions a couple times a year,” he said. “We do fairly well.”

Starks said he is looking forward to sharing his knowledge and passion for homebrewing with novice and experienced brewers alike.

“It is growing in popularity for people who want to make their own,” he said. “People want better-tasting beer.”

Starks said he got his start after someone gave him a beginners kit as a Christmas gift.

“So I made a batch and thought it was pretty good,” he said. “I got my brother, Mike, involved and we took off with it. We try new recipes, and tinker with recipes.”

Starks said he estimates he has made more than 100 batches of beer, which produces around 5 gallons.

“I’ve probably made more than 500 gallons. I didn’t drink it all myself. I’ve shared it with others,” he joked. “My goal is to only drink what I make.”

Starks said he worked in a bank for 16 years, but when the company downsized, he was let go.

“I took a couple months off to decide what I wanted to do. I decided I wanted to do something I like,” he said. “I wanted to do something for fun for a living.”

Grains & Grapes will cater to the beginner homebrewer or wine maker by providing all necessary equipment to get started, as well as providing instruction and advice to anyone interested in pursuing this hobby. Starks will also be scheduling beginner beer brewing classes in the coming months, as well as starting a homebrew club. Like Grains & Grapes Homebrew Supply on Facebook and join the email list by emailing to keep informed of upcoming events and special offers. For more information, call the shop at 526-1121.

The business is open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday and Friday, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday.