When husband and wife duoMelanie and JoelKrautstrunk wanted to leave Las Vegas, they narrowed it down to a few places.

Ultimately, they landed in Chattanooga, and they are opening a brewery on Martin Luther King Boulevard.

“We’ve just been so happy with our choice,” Melanie said about moving to Chattanooga. “We could have gone anywhere.”

Joel is a climber, and Melanie is a geologist. The duo wanted to move somewhere with a sound outdoors scene and a market for craft beer.


They heard about Chattanooga through some climber friends and then came to visit for two weeks. They stayed at the Read House for one week and camped for another-and they were sold.

“We just fell in love with it,” Melanie said. “We came back and bought a house. [Chattanooga] was everything we were looking for.”

Hutton & Smith Brewing Co.
Joel has been a homebrewer for more than a decade.

“It was what we did every weekend-we brewed beer,” Melanie said. “We got to a spot where we really wanted to do it, and we decided to commit [to opening a brewery].”

The duo looked for a place to buy, but nothing was coming together. They initially thought about starting on the Southside, but then they heard Chattanooga Brewing Co. was moving there.

They finally settled on the location at 431 E. Martin Luther King Blvd. and were happy to learn that local foundations and River City Co. were investing in that area.

“It’s the right thing at the right time for us,” she said. “We are excited about being one of the first ones in this revitalization project [of the area].”

The brewery is named afterJames Hutton and William “Strata” Smith, who areconsidered the fathers of modern geology, Melanie said.

It will be a reflection of the couple’s interests in geology and climbing, but they want it to be a place where everyone feels comfortable, she said.

“All the beer names are either geology names or climbing names,” she also said.

They are going to offer geology field trips monthly, and Melanie is planning a bicycle scavenger hunt, in which teams of people on bicycles have to find items and take pictures of them.

And they are offering a mug club through which customers can pay $165 for a handcrafted mug and receive 20 ounces of beer every time they visit the brewery for life. Club members can also come in and taste test early batches.

Renovations of the building aren’t finished yet, but they will be soon.

“We hope to be test batching in May and maybe open in June to the public,” Melanie said.

For more information, click here. To keep up with the business’ progress, click here.Click here for a recent article about other changes planned for the MLK area.