Meet Your Merchant: Carson couple brews up a small business
Trevor and Tessa Rotoli spent a few nights earlier this year huddled over their Carson City kitchen table, mulling ideas for a small business.
Trevor, a construction worker who has served in Iraq and Afghanistan with the U.S. Army, had been out of a job since November once work dried up on a highway project he was working on.
So the husband and wife started to brainstorm in January and decided on one of Trevor’s long-time hobbies: Home brewing.
And with the funds from a tax return, the Rotolis last week opened Just Brew It, a store that offers all the equipment and ingredients needed to brew beer.
“Since before we met he’s been doing home brew, and I married him and that came with the package,” Tessa Rotoli said.
Brewing night is family night at the Rotoli household. Tessa and Trevor fill the bottles and cap them. Their 5-year-old son places the bottles into boxes.
“It’s just fun, it’s something we can all do together,” Tessa, 22, said. “Obviously, our son doesn’t drink it with us.”
Trevor, 29, who started home brewing seven years ago, said the initial investment for a home-brew kit is about $80 for the equipment and about $30 to $50 for the ingredients, which includes barley, yeast and hops. After that, the home brewer just needs to replenish ingredients.
A five gallon batch makes about 50 bottles of beer, he said.
His advice to the novice beer maker: “Don’t make it too complicated, it can be as easy as you want it to be or as hard as you want it to be,” he said.
Their store also offers wine making kits, beer recipes and how-to books. They also sell jewelry, soap and artwork made by family. Tessa said they are planning on offering beer making classes starting in April.
“It’s a fun celebration of do-it-yourself,” she said.
For now, the Rotolis said they will be spending seven days a week at their business (at least until they can figure out which day is best to close shop).
“I would definitely say (home-brewing) is growing, and we do need some other things out here in Carson,” Tessa said.