Area couple set to close All Grain Brewing after 7 years in business

TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - What started as a hobby for an area couple, turned into a thriving business and now they have decided to retire with hopes of handing the reins to a new generation.

Walt Darling has made his own beer for as long as he can remember.

When the only place in town for supplies closed, it was difficult.

"We began driving to Kansas City to get supplies, and that's a long trip just to pick up some fairly inexpensive ingredients," Darling said.

With urging from members of his beer club, Walt and his wife Pam opened a home-brewing store out of their basement.

Seven years later, they never expected All Grain Brewing Specialists to be where it is now.

Darling said, "It kept expanding and right now we have over 500 different items in stock. So, the level of work is much higher than what we had ever anticipated."

Which is why the Darlings have decided to close the store at the end of the year.

"I've learned an incredible amount and we've been able to pass that on to other people, so it's been a lot of fun," Darling said.

They are stepping away even as interest in the hobby remains strong.

Darling said, "We have a whole new generation that's getting involved in this and they are coming in with new ideas, different tastes, and it's really exciting to see some of the changes that are taking place."

As their lives change, they want to thank the community for its support.

"We've really enjoyed working with the people that have come in here over the years," Darling said, "This group is inventive and it's like an art. These people take such care in developing the flavors and the quality of the ingredients. It's just been a joy to work with these people."

The Darlings will close their store December 31st, but they said a couple people have expressed interest in carrying on the business.