Brewery supply serves up fundraiser for non-profit

**BATCH CAPTION** Chris Karraker, owner of Blue Holler brewery, has been working at his business for two years. “We try to do a fundraiser every month because it’s the community that keeps us alive so we try to give back,” said Karraker. ** END OF BATCH CAPTION**

Andrew Critchelow

Craft beer, silent auctions and food trucks will come together Saturday at Blue Holler Brew Supplies to raise money for St. Jude Children’s Hospital. 10 percent of all sales at the store and all proceeds from the silent auctions will go towards the charity. Now in its second year, the event will run from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.

The fundraiser is part of Crossfitting 4 Cures, an annual charity event organized by CrossFit Old School in Bowling Green. Caitlin Mills, who originally approached Blue Holler about hosting the fundraiser, said  the store was an ideal venue for the event.

“It’s just a nice place where you can meet new people and hang out,” Mills said. “So, I figured it would be a perfect place for a lot of people to come meet, relax, drink some beers and raise some money.”

Chris Karraker, co-founder of Blue Holler Brew Supplies, said  last year’s event was one of the store’s most successful days.

“We were slammed,” Karraker said. “People really enjoyed helping out the kids.”

Co-founded in 2015 by Karraker and his wife Beverly, Blue Holler offers all the essential supplies needed to create beer and wine, along with a rotating tap of 20 craft beers for customers to try.

Karraker said  the idea to create a brew supply store and bar in Bowling Green originated from brewing beer at home with his wife and visiting craft beer supply stores such as Craft Brewed in Nashville.

“[Beverly] said ‘this place is cool, someone should do this in Bowling Green,’” Karraker said. “Three months later,  we opened.”

Blue Holler’s name originated from the now-closed Blue Holler Offroad Park in Edmonson County, a place where Karraker spent time growing up.

“When I was brewing some beers at the house,  I had a couple beers on tap  and I carved out ‘Blue Holler Brew’ on a tap handle,” Karraker said. “When we went to open up I asked my wife,  ‘what are we going to name it?’ She’s like,  ‘it sounds like you already got it named; it’s Blue Holler.’ We stuck with it.”

In addition to the St. Jude event, Blue Holler regularly hosts in-store events such as Tap Takeovers and Pint Nights. These events include a focus on one particular brewery’s beer, and usually a representative from the brewery will be present to pass out merchandise.

Craft beers currently on the menu at Blue Holler include Country Boy Cliff Jumper IPA, Bell’s Winter White and Mt. Carmel Coffee Brown Ale. Despite their large beer selection, Karraker said  their brewing supplies generate the most profit for the store.

“Seventy percent of the income of the store comes from the brew side,” Karraker said. “We do have a lot of regular drinkers, but if you walk in here and buy a homebrew kit and the ingredients, it’s 200 bucks,  and you’re out the door. I will never sell $200  worth of beer to someone in one sitting.”

Though Blue Holler is the only brew supply store in southcentral Kentucky, James McDuffy, an employee at the store, said  there is a wide variety of people in the area who are homebrew enthusiasts.

“It’s really all walks of life,” McDuffy said. “They’re all over 21, that’s about the only common thing about it. You’d be surprised how many different people brew beer around here.”

As for the future of the business, Karraker said  he hopes to move into a new facility where the store can brew their own beer and sell deli sandwiches.

“I don’t want to be a fancy restaurant that makes their own beer,” Karraker said. “I want to have beer, but with that people need something to snack on.”

The silent auctions Saturday will include items such as gift packages from local restaurants and merchandise from local breweries. Mills said  the event serves as a way for businesses to advertise through the auction while helping a worthy cause.

“It’s a great way for the community to get together and support a great hospital and a great organization for children,” Mills said. 

Reporter Andrew Critchelow can be reached at 270-745-6288 and [email protected]