Matthew McWilliams plans to open Three Rivers Brewing Co. next month. Photo via Three Rivers Brewing Co.
Written by Bridget Butler-Sullivan
To the little town of Three Rivers in Tulare County, new businesses are nothing new. In recent years, locals and the National Park Service have painted the city with everything from new restaurants to a museum. Now, Three Rivers is only a month away from its newest addition: the town’s first-ever brewery.
“Before the prohibition era, every little town had its own brewery,” said Matthew McWilliams, owner of the Three Rivers Brewing Co. “I really like the idea of bringing that tradition here. People are ready for their beer.”
Located smack-dab in the middle of town, the brewery will be central to a great view of the Middle Fork River. Because the building is only 400 square feet, McWilliams plans to make seating available in the front and back — perfect for taking in those views.
The brewery is projected to open mid-September. “We want it to have an Oktoberfest feel,” he said.
The building has a three-barrel system, and can brew up to 100 gallons a week.
“Basically every time people come in I want them to have something new to try.”
McWilliams is no stranger to craft beer. For over a decade now, he has been brewing his own stouts, wheats, IPAs, and pale ales.
In 2012, he was awarded second place in a brewing competition in Napa Valley for his Orange Wheat. This, along with his Gravy-Baby Stout, Hop-Dock IPA, and Oh Honey Pale Ale, will be the four original beers featured when the brewery opens.
Sometime around September, a taco truck will make an addition to Three Rivers Brewing Co.
The owner is currently working on the brewery every day of the week until around 4 p.m. “There are lot of odds and ends that still need to be met, but we are getting close to the end.”
When asked about the town’s reaction to the brewery, McWilliams continued, “People come in every day telling me they’re excited. I have to keep my door shut because they’re coming over all the time.”
Sequoia National Park, one of the most popular destinations in the Valley, is a ten-minute drive from town. Over the past few years, the park has received a rapid increase in visitors, which has brought more business to this town of more than 2,100 residents.
“Tourism has definitely increased business,” said an employee at River View Restaurant and Lounge, the only bar currently operating in Three Rivers.
If the advent of the Three Rivers Brewing Company proves to be as successful as McWilliams predicts, he is interested in growing the business in the area, whether that means building a second site in Three Rivers, or expanding the current location he has now.
McWilliams is originally from Pismo Beach, but after years of enjoying adventures in hiking throughout the area, he finally decided to relocate to Three Rivers five years ago.
“I love this little town, and I want to grow with it.”