Our Story

Walnut River Brewing Brews

Brewing Knowledge: Story of Rick Goehring

Rick Goehring - Head Brewer & Yeast Wrangler

Rick has spent 20+ years in corporate I.T., fueled by a college education in computer engineering, chemistry, and physics. However, his real passion is in making great beer and sharing it with others. Rick has been a homebrewer for more than 15 years and has won many awards through local and national brewing competitions. Rick’s wife noticed how much he enjoyed brewing, and “aggressively suggested” that he look into opening a brewery. With that endorsement he decided to go through the Craftbrewer’s Apprenticeship Program offered by the American Brewers Guild. The 6-month program taught Rick the science and engineering that goes into producing top-notch beers and running a craft brewery. It also included a month-long internship at a working brewery where he received hands-on experience with professional equipment. After the internship, Rick found himself involved in setting up an exceptional Brewery, the only problem was that it was not his own. Naturally, he has changed that. After gaining the critical knowledge of how a production brewery worked, Rick added to his education background by taking college business classes to help him develop a sound business plan. Knowing the practical working and business side of a brewery were vital to him before pushing ahead to find a partner. After all, how could he persuade somebody else this was a good idea if he couldn’t convince the perfectionist in himself?

Business Knowledge: Story of B.J. Hunt

B.J. Hunt - Business Operations & Head Growler Washer

An experienced business owner and manager with an Executive MBA, B.J. has spent the last 18 years as the Director and ultimately President of a family-owned company. Entrepreneurship runs in his blood. B.J. enjoys the challenges and has the skills to conduct business with the regulatory agencies overseeing the brewing industry. He also brings extensive marketing and customer relations experience to Walnut River Brewing Co., as well as sales know-how. He has been a successful fundraiser and, most importantly is passionate about business and beer. B.J. has been honored in Wichita Business Journal’s 40 under 40, and his broad business horizon serves him well as Walnut River Brewing Co.’s Business Operator.

Rick and B.J. Meet: Story of Walnut River Brewing Company, LLC

It’s no secret that these two fellows are slightly silly and don’t take themselves too seriously, but how did they meet? The story starts in 2010 when B.J. approaches one of his beer-loving friends, Jeremy Johnson, with an idea. B.J. chats with Jeremy and explains that there really should be a brewery in the Delano District of Wichita, KS. Jeremy points B.J. in the direction of Rick Goehring, a fellow he met at various beer gatherings. He knew Rick would be interested. B.J. and Rick talked about a craft brewery in Wichita vs. El Dorado, KS and Rick made an excellent argument for the zip code 67042. Rick won! His vision had started 10 years before he met B.J. when he purchased the old brick building at 111 W. Locust. The building was about 90 years old and in great need of repair, which Rick obliged. Rick wanted his brewpub so he waited, and planned, and waited. B.J. came along and tasted the beer and he knew right then and there it was going to work. B.J. wasn’t crazy about the idea of owning a brewpub because the restaurant wasn’t the point, but he did like the idea of owning a production brewery. The two put a pencil to it and felt they could make the numbers work. They both smilingly went to their wives and each pulled out retirement funds to invest in the company now known as Walnut River Brewing Company, LLC. There was a time when it legally had a different name, but if you want hear the story you’ll need to come in and grab a growler for yourself. We’ll tell it to you over a tasting of the craft brew we’re proud to call Walnut River Brewing Co.’s own.

History: Story of 111 W. Locust Avenue, El Dorado, KS

Buildings, like people, have interesting histories. Somewhere between 1917 & 1920 the first brick was laid at 111 W. Locust Ave. in El Dorado, KS. Since then it has been:

  • 1923-People’s Supply Co.
  • 1923-“Goldie’s Place” brothel
  • 1927-Wm. Graham & Son Grocery
  • 1935-Mrs. Marie Troxell Creamery
  • Quit looking at 1923, it’s not coming back

  • 1946-S&H Bakery
  • 1955-International Harvester Storage
  • 1958-O’Neil Equipment Company, Inc. (storage)
  • 1963-Century Plastics
  • And now...

  • 2012 - Walnut River Brewing Company, LLC

The most notable resident in the nearly 100-year history of our building must have been Goldie Reidie. She very quietly ran a brothel at 111½ W. Locust. Ironically enough, the local law enforcement at the time was more concerned with gambling and drinking so they left the brothel alone. Goldie ran her business upstairs while downstairs saw first a supply co., then a grocery store, and a creamery. Then Mr. Smith, who owned the bakery, bought the building and shut down the business upstairs. Goldie had a 20+ year run and is now a source of many stories. While our building has a colorful past, we’re glad to be focused on what’s brewing for the future.