Brotherwell Brewing is a Waco-born brewery that seeks to serve the Central Texas community with locally crafted beer of the highest quality.
However, what exists today as a full-scale brewery and taproom off Bridge Street in East Waco, started as just a small homebrewing group amongst friends in 2011.
At the time, Jacob Martinka had just moved to Waco to marry his Baylor girlfriend, and David Stoneking was a recent Baylor graduate working for a small video production company in town. The two had a mutual friend who invited them both to a pub trivia night.
Before 2011, Jacob lived in Fayetteville where he thoroughly enjoyed homebrewing with friends, a hobby he didn’t want to end after his move to Waco. After he made the move, Jacob and a few friends began homebrewing together. Meanwhile, David had just started attending a pub trivia night with one of his friends in the homebrewing group. It wasn’t long before David became interested in homebrewing and tagged along!
Flash forward ten years and the two are the co-founders and owners of Brotherwell Brewing, which officially opened as a public-facing business in March of 2018.
The business started out of a need to sell beer to friends for special occasions and do it in a legal way. As the homebrewing group improved their trade, they started getting more requests from friends to have their beer at house shows, weddings and social gatherings. Of course, the group wanted to provide their friends with beer, but it became expensive. Moreover, the business started purely as a way to recoup the costs of what it took to make the beer.
Jacob and David filed for their LLC in 2015 and officially became a public-facing business when they sold their first keg for St. Patrick’s Day in March of 2018.
When Brotherwell first opened, David and Jacob intended it to be a full-scale brewery with a tasting room, beer garden, and taproom to serve as a space for events and entertainment like live music, trivia and standup comedy.
“Being in an industry that I really enjoy, getting to be my own boss, and Jacob and I getting to guide this whole thing is extremely rewarding,” David said. “We hope our company is one that is seen as fun and cool and brings joy to others,” he continued.
While the COVID-19 pandemic did present several challenges to Brotherwell’s original vision of having a packed-out taproom full of entertainment, they didn’t let it stop them from being a community space.
“I love the collaborative side of the business. We work with a lot of local businesses to do what we do and to make it fun,” Jacob said. “The love and the craft of brewing beer was the inspiration for starting this, but what has given me a second wind is the collaborative side of working with people in town who are doing awesome things,” he continued.
Collaboration and partnership with other entrepreneurs in Waco encouraged Brotherwell to shift and use the brewery as a space for the community to safely gather and thrive amidst the pandemic. Partnerships with Eastside Market, Keep Waco Loud and Creative Waco have enabled Brotherwell to be a part of some unique initiatives that help shape Waco’s cultural landscape.
In addition, Brotherwell also has a wonderful partnership with Luna Juice Bar, in which they use Luna’s delicious lemonade to make their house Radler.
Jacob and David both stress that collaboration is what keeps them going. Whether it is bouncing ideas off of other craft breweries or creatively engaging with friends in the Waco community, the relationships they have with others keeps them going. They hope to encourage aspiring entrepreneurs in the community to lean into that collaboration.
“Trust yourself, trust others and be willing to collaborate,” Jacob said. “Let other people who have good ideas, realize their ideas. It will help you along the way, too,” he continued.