The amount of new breweries and distilleries starting to populate the Wasatch Front is creating a nice buzz, on many levels. We're starting to see new locally crafted beers at the rate Portland sees new coffee shops, and that is not a statement to be taken lightly. One of the newest to join in the fun is Park City Brewery, taking up residence at the Quarry Village along I-80 as you head east, they've cranked out four new canned brews onto the market in short order and made themselves known to the average consumer quickly. Today we chat with several members of the staff about the brewery and the directions they'll be headed in. (All pictures courtesy of PCB, for most of the interview, the staff answer as a group.
Scott Ray (Operations Manager), Hud Knight (Sales Manager), Jeremy Ray (Brewmaster), Brian Ray (Tap Room Manager) & Jeff Petway (Finance Manager)
Gavin: Hey everybody, first thing, tell us a little bit about yourselves.
I hail from North Carolina and been in Park City for 20 years. Formerly, served as Merchandising GMM for Backcountry.com and other outdoor companies in the past.
I hail from Kentucky and have a background in the outdoor industry in purchasing and sales. I also have a strong background in construction and thus a great ops manager.
I hail from Georgia and have been in the outdoor industry with a background in business management. I was formerly a guide on the Ocoee river for many years prior to coming to Park City.
I'm also from Kentucky, an avid outdoorsman, and an excellent brewer. I have an educational background in biology which adds to the strict standards he brings to the table.
Another Kentucky native who has managed grills for the Canyons and worked with Red Ledges Country club for many years here in Park City.
Gavin: How did each of you get involved with brewing beer?
The majority of the team has been craft lovers as long as they can remember and traded their focus from gear to beer in an effort to fill a void in the Park City craft market. Jeremy has been brewing for 12 years, won numerous national awards, and is the true brains behind the brews themselves.
Gavin: How was it for you to learn the ropes and figure out the brewing side? And what was your favorite beer that you've personally crafted to date?
Jeremy has been brewing for about a third of his life and just had to bring up his scale of brewing on the size of the system we currently have as well as adjusting recipes to fall in the 4% ABV category. The Brown is probably the favorite of the group, but we love all of the initial offerings to be honest.
Gavin: Prior to the current brewery, what experience did all of you bring to the table from previous locations and gigs?
Three of the managers (Jeff, Scott, and Hud) came from a the outdoor industry across the merchandising, marketing, sales, and purchasing departments. Brian has run various grills, and Jeremy, of course, has a deep brewing background.
Gavin: How did all of you meet up and become friends with each other?
Three of us worked together at Backcountry.com for years and Jeremy, Scott, and Brian are all brothers. We all hail from various parts of the southeast but have been in Park City from anywhere from 2-20 years depending on who you are talking with.
Gavin: How did the idea to start Park City Brewery come about?
The business plan was developed collaboratively and Jeremy had been wanting to start a brewery for years back east. He relocated here to follow that dream with his family and friends.
Gavin: What was it about Park City that was specifically appealing to start the business there?
We all love Park City, are longtime locals, felt that there was a great opportunity, and, of course, our love for craft beer.
Gavin: Did you have any issues with the state getting everything you needed to setup, or did being in Utah become a bigger hassle than anticipated?
The Utah DABC was very easy to work with and we found them to be really helpful in general. We have three licenses and they were all very navigable with a little bit of time.
Gavin: What was the process like in getting all the equipment needed and setting up the place.
We did most of the build-out ourselves and definitely have an intimate knowledge of the systems by default. Getting the equipment is neither cheap nor easy, but we were able to work with a number of companies such as Newlands, Wild Goose canning, and A.B.E. to get all of the necessary equipment for our operation. The setup was challenging, but we feel good about the final product
Gavin: During that time, how did you come up with the beers that you were going to start producing?
Many were tried and true recipes from the past that just needed a little tweaking and other were developed where we felt there was a need for our initial offering. We currently have the Breaking Trail Pale Ale, Last Pitch IPA, Boogie Water Brown Ale, and Hooker Blonde Ale.
Gavin: Was there a lot of trial and error en you were finally able to start brewing or did everything work on the first run without hassle.
We sold the very first batch into our distributor after some QA, and it went on draft at Maxwell’s in Park City to become their top-selling beer within a day.
Gavin: For the site itself, what made you decide to add a tap room to the mix rather than a pub?
We are focused on brewing and do not have an interest in running a restaurant. That being said, we do have a small food and snack offering to keep you thirsty!
Gavin: For the laymen, what would you say are the key elements that define your brewery away from the others?
We make very sessional beers, are exclusively canning (for many reasons, environmentally as well serving convenience), and really look to serve our local market with the freshest beer possible.
Gavin: What other flavors are you currently making and creating for the near future?
Yet to be determined, but we have a few ideas for seasonals, full strength, and future products.
Gavin: Knowing how big our beer community has grown in the past decade, what do you hope to add to the market that people will be interested in?
We offer some new product options as well a focused brand who has a serious passion for the local area and the outdoor activities available to us.
Gavin: What can we expect from each of you and the brewery over the rest of the year?
We plan on producing great beer, servicing the community and continuing to do what we love!