Getting to Know BeerCraft's JT Fenn

We welcome one of Rohnert Park's newest businesses with our version of '20 Questions'.

Having just opened the doors to his new business last week, JT Fenn is hoping to make BeerCraft the best place in town to obtain a wide variety of craft beers from the across the U.S. The Patch stopped by to welcome JT and learn a bit more about him and this new venture.

Tucked in between Mammoth Motorsports and Sonoma Coast Divers on Commerce Boulevard, BeerCraft is a unique store to our town that specializes in craft beers.

"We just opened the doors last week and right now it is all about filling up our inventory with great craft beers that you can't find in the other stores," JT told us.

Currently he has just over 200 varieties of craft beer and is planning on adding anywhere from 10 to 20 new beers each week as he expands the refrigeration section, he said. Opening the store is the first phase of the business and JT hopes to one day offer more than just craft beers. An assortment of glassware, beer accessories, snacks, brewery swag, and even home brew kits are all on his radar of things he would like to incorporate into BeerCraft.

The shop has a relaxed, friendly feel that is focused on giving its customers what they are looking for, whether it is a recommendation on one of the varieties of beers they carry or just talking about beer and brewing in general.

Between helping customers and talking about our favorite beers, I managed to ask a few questions to help the community get to know JT a little bit better.

Why did you choose to open your business here?

"Well I have lived most of my life in Marin and Sonoma counties. This was a great location near the freeway and the city is really friendly to new businesses. One great thing about Sonoma County is that the community really appreciates craft beers as evident by the great local breweries like Russian River, Lagunitas, and Bear Republic."

Who is your role model and why?

"I would have to say Jim Koch from Sam Adams. He is a real beer lover and he used that enthusiasm to push the industry."

Is this what you always wanted to do for a living?

"No. I have always had a love of beer and they say you should follow what you love. I just realized that I wanted to be involved in the beer business in some way."

What was your first beer?

"Oh gosh, it was one of those Mickey's Grenade's? Hornets? Those short little bottles...do they even make those anymore?

If you were stuck on a desert island and could only have one type of beer to drink but as much as you wanted, what would it be?

"Wow that is a tough question. I really like a lot of beers and my tastes change with different seasons. I would have to say right now Allagash White Ale but also I really like Black IPA's.

If you could have a beer with anyone like a historical figure or celebrity, alive or dead, who would it be?

"I think I would really want to talk to someone I could learn something from or who would be really interesting. Bill Clinton seems like a guy who would have some really interesting stories."

What do you do for fun?

"If I'm not working then it is at home to play with the kids or out doing things with them. I am really in daddy-mode right now with my 4 and 1-year olds."

Do you have any hidden talents?

"I am really good at Call of Duty, but I'm not sure if that counts as a talent. But I really like video games."

What is your favorite kind of music?

"My absolute favorite would be R&B and rap, something with a beat. I think it surprises people when I am driving without the kids and I pull up with the music really loud." JT went to High School with Tupac for one year.

Do you follow any sports?

"Football is my big thing and I am a Steelers fan. If I had to pick a favorite NFC team it would be the 49ers. I do like the Giants in baseball but I don't really follow it."

If you weren't doing this what would you be doing?

"Beer judge or reviewer. I really would always like to keep my foot in the beer industry. It is such a fun time to be a beer lover with over 2000 craft breweries around. I just want to be involved in the business."

Why this business?

"There are so many great beers out there but it is hard to get them outside of their region. How often does someone from Florida get a chance to try a Russian River beer? There are lots of rating sites out there but not a lot of sellers. It would be great to expand the craft beer market so you people could try some of the great beers from San Diego or Colorado as well."

So far it looks like BeerCraft is off to a good start with letting people experience new beers. Currently he does a daily 'Beer of the Day' special on his Facebook Page where you can see what the beer is and come by the shop and buy it for 50% off. Next month he will be launching his Beer of the Month Club and you can also stop by to 'Build your own six pack' from the different craft beers he has on hand.

BeerCraft is located at 5704 Commerce Boulevard. They are open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.

If you are a local business owner who would like to sit down for a chat and be featured in our 'Getting to Know' column, please contact us at carlos.villatoro@patch.com.

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