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Playing with Hoses leads to a Brewing Career...Public House Brewing

May 18, 2021 06:10AM ● By Kelly Schneider
Public House Brewing of St. James and Rolla [11 Images] Click Any Image To Expand

Like lots of kids, Josh Stacy was expected to do chores. Unlike many young helpers, his tasks included “a lot of hoses.” Aside from gardening and canning, his parents were into making beer in th late 70s and early 80s — way before home brewing was considered cool. He was milling grain and cleaning out bottles for re-use from a tender age. Not seeing himself as a future brewer, he was more into playing music and writing songs. Stacy and his friend, Josh Goodridge, were aspiring musicians. They jammed, played some gigs, and fantasized of spotlights and crowds. Broken dreams, like broken guitar strings, sting a bit when they pop but are quickly replaced. 

 By the time they were in their twenties, the two Joshes realized their rock-n-roll life had stalled, and they spent a lot of garage time — drinking beer. Beer they were making. A new ambition began to form. The fact that Stacy had been involved in making beer most of his life boded well when they pitched a crazy idea to their wives in 2007.  Why not start a craft brewery? 

 With permission from their other halves to quit proverbial day jobs, the two cashed-out retirement and gathered all the funds they could to start Public House Brewing Company. The Joshes’ vision was “focused on the overall experience, not just the liquid in the glass,” said Stacy. He continued, “From the very beginning the idea was to create an atmosphere and a space where people could seek respite from the day-to-day.” What they had in mind was a good old-fashioned English pub. A welcoming environment. A gathering place. A watering hole. 

In 2010 — there were just three beers and a couple of Missouri wines on hand at their brewpub. In 2014 they launched the St. James Taproom and their partnership with St. James Winery. “We now have a full [food] menu at both locations,” said Stacy. Not to mention five year-round beers, seven seasonals and five limited releases. He continued, we “focus on partnering with local producers and manufacturers as much as we can.”

The idea from the onset was to highlight flavors that are unique to the region. “Most breweries are doing that at a distance,” said Goodridge. But because of the second location’s proximity to St. James Winery, “… we’re next door. We can visit … we can talk with the winemaker; we can test barrels.”

Their first location — in Rolla — is the flagship and still the heart of the whole operation. It concentrates on pulling the local community together. Whether that means striking a balance between Fort Leonard Wood and Missouri University of Science and Technology, or giving a group of townies their own “Cheers.” The St. James Taproom, by contrast offers a bathroom stop and a leg stretch from Interstate 44. Both are an inviting shelter for individuals and groups alike. Each space serves as meeting room, conversation area, and a place to forge a bond. 

 The national and international award winning Public House Brewing Company was making plans for an intimate 10th Ale-iversary celebration when the Covid-19 pandemic moved in and made itself comfortable. The Joshes jostled and rallied. They adopted new practices to stay within local, state and federal guidelines. “We had to adapt,” said Stacy. “The team did a good job of constantly pivoting to meet the customer needs, while staying safe.” The taproom location was shut down. The hours of operation, the menu, and seating were restricted at the Brewpub. Online ordering, curbside pickup, and to the door shipping began all over Missouri. Of course, sanitation practices needed to be updated, too. Throughout it all, Public House Brewing Company kept their eyes on providing a memorable taste experience for their customers.

Not even a pandemic could dampen the spirits of Public House Brewing Company’s co-owners Josh Stacy and Josh Goodridge. The reward for 10 years of serving the local community is a fanbase that returns the favor post-Covid. Here’s to Public House Brewing Company: may you keep your batches small, your experiences innovative and your community close.

Public House Brewing Company
Rolla, MO
St. James Taproom
551 State Route B
St. James, MO
600 North Rolla Street