Why Essex? 1st Republic Brewing Co.

Interview with Shawn Trout, Brewer and Co-Owner

I stopped by to visit with Shawn on a busy Friday evening.  There were several people at the bar and scattered through the seating area, and even more arriving to pick up cans to take home.  In addition to beer sales, First Republic is the largest homebrew shop in the state of Vermont. 

Throughout the interview, it was apparent to me that many of his clients had also become friends.  Shawn is very friendly and clearly is in his element when interacting with his customers.  The brewery itself is a comfortable space, with cozy couches to curl up on, board games to play, and no blaring music. 

Shawn grew up in Southern Vermont and joined the National Guard when he was only 17.  He went on to attend Norwich University, commissioned active duty Army, and served several deployments overseas (Iraq and Afghanistan).  After he was honorably discharged, he began working for Revision Military in Essex.  It was during this time that he discovered his passion for brewing beer-a passion that eventually turned into a business model.  With the help of family and close friends, Shawn and co-owner Kevin Jarvis were able to turn their hobby into a full-time job.

Shawn had some big life changes this year.  With the birth of his first child (a little girl), he could no longer work at the brewery for twelve hours a day.  As a result of this, 1st Republic hired their first employee earlier this year.   

This March, 1st Republic received national recognition when they were named the 2018 Vermont Veteran Owned business of the year.

If you are interested in learning more, you can visit 1st Republic online at: http://www.1strepublicbrewingco.com/.  Or just drop by their location at 39 River Road and check it out for yourself.

Why Essex? “We (the owners) all live in or very close to Essex.  And a community of this size with the infrastructure to support business without a brewery is not easy to find in Vermont.”

Have an idea for the weekly(ish) Why Essex? column?  E-mail Darby Mayville at darby@ essexjunction.org.