Proud of East Texas: ETX Brewing Co.

Proud of East Texas: ETX Brewing Co.
(Source: KLTV staff)

TYLER, TX (KLTV) - For years Brian Gilstrap was successful in corporate America, but he wasn't happy.

That's something he talked about often with his brother Matt.

"Annie came out and she said, 'Guys I'm tired of hearing you gripe and complain. You're complaining about work. What would you like to do?'"

"I said you know I'd love to open a brewery but we just don't have the money. Everything in a brewery is expensive, stainless steel."

"She said you know we've had less money before. Let's try it out and see what we can do."

The Gilstrap's formed a company and in time were able to secure the funding. They were also able to find a building just off the Tyler square.

"The Lord really spoke to us when we went into this building."

The ETX Brewery was an immediate success with customers.

"It's kind of like that field of dreams, if you build it, they will come."

Much of the Brewery's interior was created by the Gilstrap's, including the tables, which were made from fence posts and the creative bar area, built by the brother's father.

ETX Brewing has accumulated a legion of fans for both its beer and its atmosphere and has recently expanded to include The Porch restaurant.

Nathan Rhyne is the Porch's chef with a menu of sandwiches, salads, burgers, appetizers and desserts, all with creative twists.

Although Rhyne isn't family, he says he feels like a family member.

"I walk in and it feels like home. We're all a big family, we get together, our children play together. It's an awesome atmosphere."

While Brian admits he sometimes works as much as 40 to 60 hours a week. He says he's happy with the job he's created for himself.

As for Annie and the children, they actually see more of Brian because they also visit him at the brewery, and he always stops what he's doing for them.

Just like their family motto says, "they do what they like and like what they do."

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