Is it just our imagination, or does it seem like so many breweries are started as joint ventures between friends? Perhaps it’s because so many buddies start home brewing together for fun, or because beer is by nature such a social beverage, but so many of the folks that we’ve interviewed for our The Who Behind the Brew series are friends and co-founders!
Add to that list Truth Beer Co., which was founded by Ryan White and Dave Timblin, whose friendship stretches all the way back to childhood. In 2022, they opened their brewery in a former auto detailing garage in downtown Akron, PA (just a few miles southwest of Ephrata), fulfilling their 10-year plan to make this type of business a reality.
We chatted with these two soon after Truth Beer Co. celebrated it’s one-year anniversary in early September in 2022.
PA Eats: Let’s go back to the beginning. How did you meet, are you both from Pennsylvania?
Dave Timblin: We are both from Pennsylvania, yes. I’m from just outside Pittsburgh originally. We met in middle school actually, and have been friends ever since.
Ryan White: I grew up in Lancaster and met Dave in middle school, now 29 years ago!
When and why did you start home brewing together?
White: We both developed a love for craft beer in the early 2000s, and I decided to start home brewing not long after.
Timblin: Ryan was trying to get me to brew with him for a little while but we hadn’t gotten it together. Then, on my honeymoon in 2013, I toured Barley Creek Brewing up in the Poconos area, and something clicked that not every brewery had to be some multi-million-dollar project. I texted Ryan from the booth as we ate dinner there and said, “We should do this!”
What were your jobs/careers before this?
Timblin: I was in graphic design and production at Pop-It Graphics for almost a decade, and shortly before we opened TBC, I took a job as a brewer at Pour Man’s Brewing in Ephrata.
White: I have had a whole slew of crazy jobs, including way back when I was the mouse at Chuck E. Cheese (no, I don’t remember the dance). Currently, I work in healthcare as an MRI Tech when I’m not doing brewery things.
How did your home brewing journey go from “this is fun” to “let’s start a brewery”?
Timblin: When I texted Ryan that we should ‘do this,’ we had no experience whatsoever. It took a lot of batches and time to actually get to the point where we were seriously looking at potential brewery spaces, but in my mind, this was always the end goal.
White: Yeah, we home brewed for just shy of a decade before we decided to take the plunge. We’re both kinda perfectionists.
Where did the name Truth Beer Co. come from?
White: It has a bit of a dual meaning. Dave and I have always gravitated toward the concept of authenticity. There is a Henry David Thoreau quote: “Rather than love, rather than money, rather than fame, give me truth,” which really resonated with us, specifically Dave. Additionally we had been using the term “truth” as an affirmation after one of us made a statement that the other agreed upon.
Why Akron? How did you figure out where you wanted to be located?
Timblin: We were looking all around the area for several years, from Lancaster city, to Lititz, to Ephrata where our friends at Pour Man’s are. Our current spot became available, and we liked the large open space it provided for the brewery side. As we started building out, we decided to also make a part of the space into a taproom so people could come enjoy our beers with us here in Akron!
What are the brewery and taproom like?
White: We are definitely a microbrewery! We are currently brewing on a direct-fire propane 5-barrel system. Our taproom has 7 tables inside and 4 tables outside. We have 8 taps of our own beers, crowlers and limited runs of 4-pack cans to go, and a small snack menu with things like soft pretzels and chips and salsa.
Timblin: Also, we have three 5-barrel unitanks where we do all our fermentation/conditioning.
What were the challenges or victories in learning to brew on a professional level vs. home brewing?
White: Our home brewing experience helped as far as recipe formulation, but Dave leaving his job in the design industry to work at Pour Man’s Brewing definitely gave us a lot more experience to pull from on a professional level. The Pour Man’s guys have been hugely helpful as friends, mentors, resources and eventually even investors!
Timblin: Yeah Ryan Foltz and Sam Son at Pour Man’s are our BFFs.
What do you want to bring or “say” to the PA craft beer community with your beers?
Timblin: We always have been big fans of IPAs and hoppier styles, but we also try to have a wide range of options, and experiment with different methods or ingredients.
White: We like to think of our style as a mix of approachable and experimental. Right now, in addition to our hoppy styles, we have a tart ale fermented on strawberry purée, a lime cucumber blonde ale, and our pumpkin beer.
What are your different roles in the company?
White: Being such a small company, we both do little bit of everything, but we are slowly starting to diversify somewhat. Dave is worlds better at wholesale, so that has been a huge help.
You just celebrated one year in business, right? What has the journey of your first year been like?
Timblin: It has been a year full of ups and downs, for sure. We’ve learned a lot, gotten to be better brewers, business owners and friends along the way. We’re looking forward to many more years to come!
Do you have any plans or dreams for the future to share?
Timblin: We are actively looking for an offsite taproom, whether it becomes our main space or we add it in addition to our current setup. We are fairly limited here, with being tucked away around the back of the building with a lack of parking, and we don’t have space to expand our food offerings or seating. We have been looking at Akron, and the surrounding areas, as well!
Visit Truth Beer Co. at 401 S. 7th St., Suite #5 in Akron, Pennsylvania; phone: (717) 588-2885.
This series is made possible by support from the Pennsylvania Malt and Brewed Beverage Industry Promotion Board and grant funding from the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board.
- Photos: Truth Beer Co.