We had the good fortune of connecting with James Brown and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi James, how did you come up with the idea for your business?
Started homebrewing in the garage and won a couple competitions. Once I realized that I was actually pretty good at brewing beer I thought it would be an awesome to take those recipes and open a small taproom. Fell in love with the city of Roanoke and once we found the perfect spot we moved on it fast. Opening our taproom in October 2019.

Please tell us more about your work. We’d love to hear what sets you apart from others, what you are most proud of or excited about. How did you get to where you are today professionally. Was it easy? If not, how did you overcome the challenges? What are the lessons you’ve learned along the way. What do you want the world to know about you or your brand and story?
I think the biggest lesson I have learned since the brewery opened is that partnerships can be incredibly hard. Then secondly how important ample capital is. You have to spend money to make money. If the customers aren’t happy then there won’t be any customers. And lastly, you have to always be learning and growing! You can’t just keep brewing the same brew styles you are comfortable with. The business is constantly pivoting and changing and you have to move with it.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Roanoke is such a fun city to have a business in so we have a ton of recommendations! First off if you are coming from out of town, you are going to want to stay at the Oak St. Bed and Voucher, mainly because it is next door to the brewery so you have easy access to our brews for your entire stay!

Additionally you get a voucher to all the food hall options attached to Soul Fire Brewing. The Food Hall has a huge variety! Restaurants offering BBQ, Cajun dishes, Pho, Tacos, Fish and Chips, Ice Cream, and Gourmet Potatoes in the Oak St. Food Hall attached to our Brewery. The rest of Oak St. is full of delicious food and activities. Saturdays in the summer there is a Farmers Market down at the Roanoke Courthouse. Several weekends out of the year the whole street is closed off for a Festival hosted by the city of Roanoke. You can also catch a weekend show at ChopShop, sometimes even Randy Rogers shows up!
Not too far North there is a great hiking and mountain biking trail called Knob Hill Trail. If you are looking to get a little less dirty we recommend Flannel Jax’s Axe Throwing on the other side of 114 from us. Whatever it is you are looking for, Roanoke has got it!

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
There were for sure several big influences on my journey. First shoutout for sure goes out to “The Homebrew Bible” by Michael Jackson. It was instrumental in building my brewing skills in the beginning. And then secondly the Bluebonnet Homebrew Competition. After entering the competition and winning a few awards it really gave me the confidence and drive to open the brewery.

Website: www.soulfirebrewing.com

Instagram: www.instagram.com/soulfirebrewing

Twitter: www.twitter.com/soulfirebrewing

Facebook: www.facebook.com/soulfirebrewing

Yelp: https://www.yelp.com/biz/soul-fire-brewing-roanoke-2

Other: https://untappd.com/SoulFireBrewingCo

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