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Something’s brewing in Morehead: Local boys make good, with city’s first brewery

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Posted at 5:13 PM, Dec 05, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-05 18:55:54-05

MOREHEAD, Ky. (LEX 18)  — Childhood friends, and now business partners. And business is good at the Sawstone Brewing Company in Morehead.

“We’ve had a hard time keeping beer on tap,” said Derek Caskey, who was in the fermentation area, brewing some of Sawstone’s six beers when we visited this morning.

Caskey, Blake Nickell and Nick Hollan grew up in Morehead, which has never before had its own brewing company. They got their start by making their own beers from starter kits at one of their homes. From there, they’d offer their concoctions at community functions, and those were well-received.

“We did some market research to get an idea of what to expect,” Nickell said, of their trips to numerous breweries all over the region.

Years of experimenting, followed by years of planning led to their grand opening in August.

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“I’d drive by during the warmer days and see people (outside) drinking beer we made,” said Nickell, who handled the building’s I.T. infrastructure. Caskey and Hollan have backgrounds in construction, so they did much of the work involved in renovating their space. And this 100-year-old building required a lot of work, which took roughly 18 months to complete.

“We loved the history of this building,” Holland said of their three story building located at 175 E. Main Street. He also said they love the history of beer. Many of their brews are from the prohibition era. “We had been thinking and talking and dreaming about this place for many years,” he continued.

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It came to fruition four months ago. The plan is to eventually expand the menu, while adding at least two more beers to the lineup. At any given time at least one of them will be on-site, keeping a hand in every aspect of the business. And, yes, making sure their products taste good.

“I think we walk in and immediately start working, but when we have a minute to sit down and enjoy a beer and look around you think, wow, we did this. It’s happening,” Nickell said.

And they plan on making it happen for a long time. Nickell said he has three kids, who he’d love to have working here when the time comes. Holland refers to the Brewery as being, “our baby,” while Caskey said he has his “dream job.”