Meet your neighbor: Devin Rutledge, brewer at Depot Street Brewing Co.

Hannah Swayze • Updated Dec 10, 2017 at 7:44 PM

If you've had a beer with a Depot Street Brewing Co. Label, odds are that beer was brewed by Devin Rutledge.

Rutledge did not start out intending to brew beer for a living. In fact, his original job at one of the Tri-Cities' first breweries involved him driving the delivery truck and mopping floors.

Now, the Kingsport native, his wife, Tanya, and their 3 1/2-month-old son live in Jonesborough. Devin is the brewer at Depot Street and Tanya works as a nurse at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center Hospital at Mountain Home.


Q: How did you get into brewing?

A: So, I actually started brewing before it was legal for me to consume alcohol. What I realized was that I could buy hops, barley and yeast and not have to have an ID, so I figured out at an early age how to make sugars turn into alcohol and I kind of started honing in on that. All through college I always had something fermenting in my closet … sorry to the RA about that. But I always had something going on just to experiment around with and I always try to look at it as a scientific standpoint. I've always been kind of curious about that. The fermentation science side of things. Different flavors you can kind of coax out, different fruits throw off different things and it just always interested me.

Q: Also, you are a new dad. How is that?

A: So, when you are a new parent you have to realize that you no longer come first. And that you become a parent not just with your own action but with everyone else's. All of a sudden I realized for a minute instead of me being Devin, I'm probably going to end up being Raylan's dad. And that is a reality you know you're going to be so and so's dad. I wouldn't change it for anything in the world. It's a really interesting journey. We love him so much though. He's going to be spoiled rotten. We read to him every night, we're big proponents of that. 

His name is Raylan which doesn’t — it's not a traditional name at all, it's kind of a softer name. We actually got it from the show "Justified," which is where we heard it the first time. The guy is a U.S. marshal and he's kind of a vigilante and shoots bad people and stuff. But it was just the name that stuck. ... It’s a journey that I wouldn't change for anything. It's a lot of fun and I'm excited to watch him grow up.

Q: Have you had any moment's lately where you've been like “oh my God I'm a dad"?

A: For sure. I know the moment he was born and I heard the cry. I heard him cry and ... shew. You know just waterfalls and just that moment. We were all prepared, we had the crib set up, the nursery was set up, everything was ready to go and it was until that moment that … it's almost like a physiological change happened. Like click! Boom!

Q: What are some of the other things that you and your wife do?

A: Some of the things that we like to do together as a family is hiking. I think I showed you the picture of him in the hiking backpack. I was really excited about that. We were kind of amateur waterfall hunters. We would go around to local waterfalls. I know we've been to over probably 100 waterfalls since we started hiking. We usually try to stick on the day hikes. So anywhere from four to 20 miles is our range in that, so depending on where we're going, what we're doing. Not too big on the camping side of things but, so, that's one thing we really enjoy doing. We like to read. We both read a lot.

Q: What would you consider to be your greatest accomplishment?

I mean obviously with the newborn, that has to be it. You know? On the overall life level that would definitely be it. As far as that goes, it has to be the baby. But if you're looking at a professional level ... I remember the first time I brewed a batch of beer by myself with no help whatsoever and it came out exactly how I wanted. How proud I was of that is one of the best feelings, professionally, that I've had. Again, probably nothing compares with having a baby, though.

Q: What does your future look like?

A: I hope to be brewing beer. In the future what I would like ... I would love to watch Raylan grow up. We may have more kids, I don't know, we'll see how that goes. And ... just to be happy and to make the people around me happy.

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