Settlers Brewing Co., located at 202 E Randolph, is a family-run business in a 4,500 square foot downtown Enid building. Some of Enid’s residents remember visiting the KGEO-TV studio at this location, which later became KOCO-TV when it moved to Oklahoma City. It was part of Streets Electronics, now Hann Plummer PLLC, next door. The building later became Enid Transmission Specialists before opening as the brewery in February, 2020.
Thomas Rowe teaches full time at Waller Middle School and Tonya is an Assistant Principal at Enid High School. Their son, Chandler Hofen, helped Thomas build most of the brewery. Together, they got to renovate a building while building a business.
Thomas met his wife, Tonya, in Enid in the 1990’s, the same decade he started brewing beer. He became more serious about brewing when his school friend opened a brewery in Colorado Springs in 2014. Thomas and Tonya stopped by during a brewery tour and later purchased their 3-barrel set of equipment.
When asked how they first noticed the building that would become their brewery, Thomas chuckled as he told the story. He and Tonya moved back from California to Enid in 2014, on the same day as their friends’ 30th wedding anniversary. At the intersection of Randolph and 2nd street, they heard a noise when 3 lug nuts fell off of their vehicle. The next day, they went back to that intersection, found the lug nuts that had fallen off after driving 1,400 miles from California, and they noticed the building that is now their brewery.
The idea of a brewery came to Thomas while he was teaching a youth entrepreneur class. They drove all around looking for a space that would be somewhat industrial with a great outdoor space. Thomas met Dee Plummer, who suggested the building – the same building they had noticed while finding their lug nuts.
Renovating an existing building resulted in square footage, character, and history that new construction doesn’t provide. The family loves the private loft with a wood-burning fireplace that will occasionally be open to members. While closed due to Covid-19, they added patio seating and lights to enjoy wonderful weather in the evenings.
Settlers Brewing Company opened with 8 kinds of beer and a charity of the month. Their goal was always to give back to the community as they bring families and friends together.
They love being a family working together, with Chandler learning the business from the ground up. Tonya said their Sunday vision has come to life, with families, babies, and dogs, all hanging out together off of their devices.
Thomas said renovating an existing building and turning it into something new was absolutely worth it and if they start another project in the future, they will definitely renovate an old building again.
Story & Photos by: Kelly Tompkins