CLYMER — As home brewing becomes more popular, the demand for brewing supplies grows. Often, a brewer must travel well outside of the area to find equipment or turn to the Internet and face expensive shipping fees.
This was the case for Jackie Anderson and her husband, Herb, of Commodore. As an avid wine-maker, Anderson had a difficult time getting the equipment and ingredients she needed to continue her hobby.
“My husband and I started making our own homemade wine probably about eight to 10 years ago, and we enjoyed doing it,” she said, “but we had a very hard time finding supplies locally. We would have to go pretty far, or order it over the Internet.”
In response to this need, Anderson decided to open The Homebrew and Hobby Shop in downtown Clymer.
“Everywhere we go and talk about it, there’s at least someone in the crowd that makes their own beer or wine. I didn’t realize there was such a high demand in the area. I did a little bit of research, and there’re quite few home brew clubs, organizations, that get together and meet.”
Home brewing is a growing interest in Indiana County. The Gazette reported on the Indiana Homebrewers Club in September, and Indiana University of Pennsylvania offers classes on the geography of wine and microbrewing. Both classes offer tours of established wineries and breweries.
“I believe it’s getting more and more popular,” Anderson said. “Especially since President Obama had his chef make the White House beer.”
In 2011, Obama purchased a homebrewing kit. White House Honey Ale became the first beer known to have been brewed in the White House.
Anderson moved to Commodore 10 years ago from Lancaster County. She credited her employer at the time for sparking an interest in the self-creation of wine.
“When we moved to the area my boss that I was working for at the time, he and his wife were into going to the wineries,” she said. “So (my husband and I) started going to the wineries with them and buying wine. Then we just decided, ‘Let’s try to make our own.’”
Their first wine was made from Concord grapes. More recently, at their son’s wedding in 2012, she and her husband made all the wine for his wedding.
The Homebrew and Hobby Shop was initially only going to offer herbal teas and other herbal products, according to Anderson. But after deciding to sell brewing supplies as well, the shop offers everything a brewing enthusiast could ask for.
“We’re going to have a lot of beer-making kits, wine-making kits, all the supplies, the different malts,” Anderson said. “And of course the buckets and your carboys and your cleaning supplies and corks and bottles. We’re going to have books here for people that want to get into it.”
The shop has 11 different beer kits as of now, according to Anderson. Most are ales, but it also offers a few lagers and some specialty seasonal kits such as a summer ale and Belgian caramel. Anderson also sells all different types of ingredients, like lemon and orange peels, licorice root, heather tips, wintergreen and vanilla beans so brewers can make their beers from scratch.
Along with brewing supplies, the shop also offers locally roasted coffee beans, Pennsylvania-made candles and Washington, Pa.-grown herbal teas and other herbal products.
“I’m very excited,” Anderson said.
The Homebrew and Hobby Shop is at 540 Franklin St. in Clymer. Hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Fridays and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays.