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Dustin Evans is steeped in a family of entrepreneurs. His grandfather served many years in the Army before starting Precision Tune Autocare which remains in their family today. His uncle also owns many restaurant franchises from Dallas to San Antonio. Southern Roots Brewing Company is a family affair, Evan, his wife, mother and father all contribute as a part of the team.

Evans was born in San Antonio but raised in Killeen, and left home at age 18 to join the Army. Afterward, he decided to study business administration at Texas State but ultimately graduated in public relations. As a part of his final school projects, he visited craft breweries to conduct interviews for feature stories. At the time, his father Keith had gotten into craft brewing at home as a hobby, and Dustin enjoyed it as well. Unknowingly, they landed on their minimum viable product. The two of them began making beer for friends and families for weddings and parties. The feedback was very positive, and folks kept saying if it was in the store, they would buy it.

Evans ultimately took a job at Dell Technologies in Round Rock as an account manager but, for him, something was still missing. His entrepreneurial spirit had not left him. He needed to act on his ambition.

“I want to be the best at something, every single day. I didn’t know what that was, but I felt like I could do something more than what I was doing every day. I need something to strive for, I love having a pursuit,” Evans said.

The spark was lit and they initially thought about opening a simple craft beer bar. He and his father began to piece together ideas, they called breweries and asked how it worked and what they did. Evans called product reps, visited breweries from North Carolina to Texas and officially incorporated their name in 2017. They had a unique research experience, as everyone they contacted was open to sitting down and talking.

“It’s the most amazing thing, they gave us tons of feedback. It’s part of the reason I love this specific industry. We’re niche so we all have to work together,” Evans said.

Southern Roots Brewing Company officially opened its doors on October 10, 2019, just months before the pandemic would shake the world, social norms and brewery operations. Although times were hard in 2020, Evans didn’t give up.

“Our first year we were closed more than we were open. That being said, I think that we did a really good job of building a strong brand in the beginning,” Evans said. “So, even though there were definitely some scary days, I never had a zero-dollar day while we were shut down. We had people come by every day —and we’re open 7 days — even during covid. You couldn’t come inside, but we never had a zero-dollar day.”

Southern Roots Brewing Company prides itself on having a selection for everyone. All selections are their own craft beer. Evans is happy to help you discover your new favorite brew. The menu is about half and half – for the adventurous or seasoned drinker or the craft brew novice drinker. Southern Roots Brewing Company is a member of the Texas Craft Brewers Guild, Greater Waco Chamber of Commerce and the newly established Craft Waco. Craft Waco aims to bring awareness to the non-franchise or chain bars in the downtown area during the shutdown.

“Because we’re all in a niche industry, we team up on a lot of aspects. So, Barnett’s, True Love, Dancing Bear, we work together on a lot of things and events,” Evans said. “Andrew Steakley with Barnett’s started Craft Waco. All the non-franchise and chain bars, specifically downtown, are trying to bring awareness because we’re not close to neighborhoods. We’re not next to the H-E-B you’re driving past every day.”

Although the regulations during the covid pandemic are fluid, Southern Roots Brewing Company is always permitted to offer any of their beers to-go. They also offer shipping with no minimum purchase necessary. Southern Roots has plenty of space for social distancing. Their front-of-house space offers 3,900 square feet as well as a patio area available to book for private events.

Evans is optimistic beyond the 2020 pandemic as he hopes to expand to other cities in the future. Visit Southern Roots Brewing Company online, or give them a call today at (254) 732-2309 to book your private event or make a purchase!

“It’s the most amazing thing, they gave us tons of feedback. It’s part of the reason I love this specific industry. We’re niche so we all have to work together,” Evans said.

Katie Dawson works in Marketing and Communications at Baylor University and is content manager for LaunchWaco. She lives in Woodway with her husband Rhett, John the dog and Mildred the cat.

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