New craft brewery proposed for downtown Tyler, but must first get zoning variance to sell alcohol



A new microbrewery could be coming to downtown Tyler, if the city’s Planning and Zoning Commission agrees to allow alcohol sales in a building at Elm Street and Broadway Avenue.

The ETX Brewing Co. plans to move into a space just south of the new parking garage, in an industrial building that once housed Expert Tire.

However, because a school is about 300 feet away and a church about 75 feet away, the company will need a special use zoning variance to allow beer sales for on-premise consumption. The commission will discuss that variance in a workshop session on Tuesday.

ETX Brewing’s owners, brothers Brian and Matt Gilstrap, have been concocting their own beer for about a decade, and now they plan to make a business out of it.

“This has been a dream of ours for years, and just about three years ago, we came up with our business plan,” Brian Gilstrap said. “We have just gotten out of corporate America, and we’re ready to move forward.”

The building is owned by Mayor Martin Heines; a lease was signed last month.

“I think it will be a good addition to downtown,” Heines said. “The downtown Business, Arts and Culture designation is slowly bringing us some growth, with small business owners coming downtown. We’re seeing millennials choosing to locate their businesses downtown, and that’s exciting.”

The brothers plan a tap room and space for food trucks. They want to make ETX Brewing into a destination craft beer site.

“Our vision for the site is to really help build a communal area where people can come and gather and ultimately help foster the redevelopment in downtown,” Gilstrap said. “We’ve got some really good festivals downtown, but really, other than those, there’s nothing much more to do besides restaurants. We want to help bring more foot traffic and tourism. A brewery has magnificent equipment, people like to see it. Craft beer lovers like to travel and see where the beer is made.”

The company will start with a number of beer styles.

“We want to appeal to the entry level craft beer consumers, and those who have really sophisticated palates,” he said.

If the Planning and Zoning Commission approves the variance, and the Tyler City Council signs off as well, ETX Brewing could be open in the fall.

“It’s a long process,” Gilstrap said. “Our equipment won’t show up to our building until the month of September. We’re learning to be patient. Our craft is really a mix of art and science. And that’s not something you want to rush.”

The Planning and Zoning Commission will meet at 1:30 p.m. at City Hall, 212 N. Bonner Ave. They’ll then recess and go into a workshop session in the large conference room at the Planning Department, 423 W. Ferguson St., across from City Hall.



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