CLOVIS, California – A Valley family is mixing their rich history in agriculture into a popular line of craft beer.
356 Tavern in Old Town Clovis is the new home for 559 Beer.
Rhett Williams crafts all the beers, he was inspired years ago on a trip with his parents to Germany.
“There is more of a craft and science and a sense of community behind it,” Rhett explained about the German beer culture.
He wanted to bring that culture to Clovis. Rhett comes from generations of Valley farmers on his mother and father’s side. His mother’s family has been farming raisins in Caruthers for decades. Ag is a big part of their lives and has become a key ingredient in Rhett’s beer.
A few years ago, Rhett’s grandfather Alvin (who was a raisin farmer) was sick in the hospital and asked Rhett for a favor.
“Being in the hospital with him for like 19 weeks, it was inspired,” Rhett said. “He basically was like you should put raisins in the beer.”
“Rhett said I don’t think I want to do that,” Cheryl recalls. “I said grandpa is 91, I don’t know how much longer he’s going to make it, just do it.”
Rhett brewed raisins with beer and named it “Raisin Farmer Ale.” It’s become 559 Beer’s flagship brew.
“Dad wasn’t able to see it but he watches us above,” Cheryl said.
Grandpa Alvin’s request started a series of ag-based beers, including strawberry, peach, fig and seasonal beers with pomegranate and almond. Each bottle is thoughtfully crafted.
“Each one has a story about why we made that beer and why it’s local to the Valley,” Rhett said.
His father designs all the bottles. The “Raisin Farmer Ale” even features a sketch of his grandpa’s tractor.
559 Beer moved to 356 Pollasky in Old Town Clovis in late 2017. The new location, called ”356 Tavern” is housed inside an old hotel. There’s a tasting room with eight beers on draft and other seasonal specials.
There’s also food and events including music, line dancing and paint nights. The tavern is open to all ages. Rhett’s community vision is in all the details down to the tables he and his friend made.
“We wanted to make it family farmhouse-style, that way people could eat together and create a sense of family and community,” Rhett said.
559 Beer quickly proved successful on the market, it’s sold at big box stores including Costco and Savemart.