For the first time in 117 years, Owensboro has a brewery.

Brew Bridge, the first brewery in town since Owensboro Brewery closed in 1903, has started making beer.

And it will open the doors of its brew pub to the public on Friday.

David Haynes, who owns the business with Max Garvin, said he expects to have eight dark beers ready for the opening at 4 p.m. that day.

A soft-opening, a party for investors and those who have helped them get the business started, is scheduled for 7 p.m. Thursday, he said.

Haynes and Garvin first announced plans for the brewery last August.

They had hoped to open by the end of March.

And then, the coronavirus pandemic hit.

Haynes said Brew Bridge will be open from 4 p.m. to midnight seven days a week.

He said they plan to offer lunch in the future.

Their first beer has started a year’s worth of aging in O.Z. Tyler bourbon barrels, Haynes said.

He said he and Garvin are still working with the city on all the precautions they need to take.

The old nightclub at 800 W. Second St. would normally seat 140 inside and 80 on the patio.

Haynes said he thinks it will hold about 150 with social distancing.

“We’ll be at 50% capacity next week,” he said. “We expect most people to be on the patio, where the only restriction is staying six feet apart.”

When the brew pub gets its restaurant license, Haynes said it will be offering Southern-style comfort food.

Earlier this year, Will Johnson, the brewmaster, said they eventually plan to brew 160 different craft beers a year at the rate of 7,000 pints a month.

The fermenting tanks will be inside the door for people to pass as they enter.

Johnson said the building will have “a real nice aroma.”

Haynes said Brew Bridge will be the largest brewery in western Kentucky, based on square footage.

The Property Valuation Administrator’s website says the building is 5,265 square feet.

It’s next door to Haynes and Garvin’s Escape Today, which features escape rooms, each featuring a different puzzle that groups have to solve in less than an hour; an ax-throwing room, where people throw hatchets at bull’s-eyes for points; an arcade with a couple of dozen video game machines; and a rage room where people can smash things.

Haynes said it will reopen on Friday as well.

Several arcade games have been added, a new escape room is coming in a few weeks and an outdoor axe-throwing area is being planned behind the building.

The two buildings are near the Owensboro Convention Center and the planned Home2 Suites hotel.

Haynes said they plan to grow hops in a garden south of the building.

“We want everything to be local,” he said earlier.

In a few months, Owensboro could have two breweries.

Scott Shreffler, one of four partners in Louisville’s Mile Wide Beer Co., said earlier this year that the company hopes to open a taproom and brewery in the former CYO Brewing location at 119 E. Second St.

He said recently that they will start work on the building when they secure both their state and federal licenses.

Keith Lawrence 270-691-7301, klawrence@messenger-inquirer.com.

Keith Lawrence 270-691-7301

klawrence@messenger-inquirer.com

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