New brewhouse causes a buzz
Three long-time friends and beer connoisseurs have opened Morehead’s first and only brewhouse.
Blake Nickell, Nicholas Hollan and Derek Caskey are the founders and owners of Sawstone Brewing Co. on Main Street. The trio have hosted several soft openings in early August to give the community a sample of the brews they offer, which include but are not limited to local, Kentucky-made and in-house brews.
What started out as a hobby turned into a full-fledged business for the friends, who grew up in Morehead and wanted to bring something more to the community with their passion.
“We kinda had a feeling that this town was kinda hungry for something like this,” said Hollan.
The idea to start their own brewery didn’t just happen overnight.
“We all sort of got one-gallon kits and started around the same time,” said Nickell.
The trio spent countless hours and late nights trying to perfect their craft, experimenting and coming up with different recipes. They entered competitions such as the beer tasting event, Brew Ha!Ha!, hosted by the Rowan County Arts Center in 2017, where they met the landlord of the building which now serves as Sawstone Brewing Co.
Turning the building into the brewhouse they envisioned proved to be a dauting task, taking over a year and half of tearing down and rebuilding.
“Tearing out everything in a 100-year-old building is a lot of work,” said Caskey.
However, it was a labor of love for the three, who completely renovated the building and even kept many of its original aspects intact. Such as the cut blue limestone walls from which the brewery derived its name.
“We realized that the bones of the building were really beautiful.”
Although hoping to create a strong presence within the community, the three say they don’t want Sawstone to be your average bar.
“This isn’t your typical bar,” said Caskey. “It’s more mellow. As thirty somethings now, we’re looking for a different sort of bar that we feel comfortable in.”
Nickell, Caskey and Hollan hope for the place to serve as an open social hub where the community can converge, converse and share ideas. They also hope for Sawstone to be the kind of place where families can come as well.
“We hope that we can truly coalesce the community and kind of be the community hub,” said Caskey, whose feelings were echoed by his partners, who expressed their desires that their business revitalizes downtown Morehead and restores some vibrancy to the surrounding community.
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