Jon Sleight felt there was something missing in Puyallup.
As a homebrewer for 20 years, the Puyallup resident found himself driving all the way to Larry’s Brewing Supply store in Tukwila for all his homebrewing supplies.
“I was sitting in traffic every day and thought there really needs to be something close to my house,” Sleight said. “I felt there was a hole here that needed to be filled.”
I was sitting in traffic every day and thought there really needs to be something close to my house. I felt there was a hole here that needed to be filled.
Jon Sleight, owner of Jon’s Homebrew and Wine Supply
Sleight, 54, opened Jon’s Homebrew and Wine Supply at 1430 E. Main #1430C in Puyallup in May to cater to other homebrewers like himself — both beginners or advanced — by providing them with all the supplies they might need for the homebrewing process.
“The whole purpose is to help (brewers) make beer and wine at home,” Sleight said. “I want to be able to give people advice every step of the way.”
Sleight’s store provides both equipment and ingredients, from fermentors to grain, hops and yeast. A collection of recipes, some borrowed and some created by Sleight himself, helps would-be brewers find the beer or wine they’re looking for.
“A lot of people come in with a recipe in mind,” Sleight said. “They have an idea of what they want to do.”
While it’s his first time owning a business, Sleight said his confidence in brewing and passion for inspiring other brewers pushed him to open the store with his wife, Sarah.
“I was inspired to brew by my uncle,” Sleight said. “I always thought it was cool that he was able to make his own brew.”
Sleight sees brewing as an art form.
“Brewing is art — a way of combining different elements,” he said. “... It’s like cooking or barbecuing. It’s the idea of sharing something with someone — ‘Hey, I made this and it’s good.’”
Sleight was also inspired to brew himself after taking a class in 1997 with Larry Rifenberick, the founder of the family-owned Larry’s Brewing Supply.
When Larry’s closed in March, it was bittersweet for Sleight, who was already planning to open his own shop and had worked for two years at Larry’s, teaching classes and working behind the counter.
I didn’t realize how many of my customers lived here and on South Hill ...When I was a brand new brewer, it can feel intimidating to go to a store and (at Larry’s) I wasn’t. I want people to feel that way when they come in here.
“I didn’t realize how many of my customers lived here and on South Hill,” Sleight said. “When I was a brand-new brewer, it can feel intimidating to go to a store, and (at Larry’s) I wasn’t. I want people to feel that way when they come in here.”
Already, Puyallup’s community of brewers have helped Sleight and his business settle in, including Powerhouse Restaurant & Brewery and the Puyallup Brew Crew. Jon’s Homebrew is also a drop-off location for the Washington State Fair’s wine and beer making competition.
Steve Samples, owner of The Station U-Brew in downtown Puyallup, said that there was a huge need in Puyallup for Sleight’s store.
“Him opening a homebrew supply shop is a great addition to the local community,” Samples said.
Him opening a homebrew supply shop is a great addition to the local community.
Steve Samples, owner of The Station U-Brew
“The community that we’re in is very helpful and works together,” Sleight said.
After nearly 30 years working in the music industry, helping people learn to play instruments, Sleight’s now helping people in a different way.
“I get a huge joy out of inspiring brewers ... I want to make this (store) something that I can be proud of — and I am proud,” Sleight said. “I take a lot of pride in getting people what they need.”
For more information, visit jonshomebrew.com.