Park City Brewery will soon pour into other states
Founders see opportunity for brand to spread
When Hud Knight, Scott Ray, Brian Ray and their fellow co-founders began mulling the idea of opening Park City Brewery, they saw it as a way to ensure they could live in the Park City area for decades to come.
Now, nearly two years after popping the top off their first can of beer, they see the brewery as a way to take what they love about Park City elsewhere. They said the brewery, whose beers are available in grocery stores all over Utah, will begin distributing product into Idaho within the next few months, a major milestone in the fight to carve out a niche in the craft beer industry.
“The reason we opened this brewery is so we could stay in Park City the rest of our lives, basically,” Knight said. “We want to be here so we can enjoy all the activities in the town that we love, and we want to provide a little sample of that out to the rest of the country.”
Should the foray into Idaho prove fruitful — and they are betting it will, based on the success other Utah breweries have seen in the Gem State — the founders are already planning their next step. They said a good reception in Idaho could lead to expansions into several other states in the near future.
“We’re looking at areas where people come to Utah and are familiar with Park City,” said Knight. “Places like Southern California, Phoenix, even Texas. People love the vibe here, and we reiterate that as a brand. If they see that back in their hometown, they’ll be like, ‘Oh, man, I had a great time in Park City.’”
The founders dream that, eventually, they’ll become successful enough to sell their beer in the one place outside of Utah that has been clamoring for it ever since the brewery opened: home. The Rays are from Kentucky, and Knight is from North Carolina, and whenever they return to their hometowns, friends and family inundate them with questions about when their beer will be available there.
“That’s a dream of mine,” Scott Ray said. “I can’t imagine going back home and being like, ‘Oh, man, there’s our beer on the shelf.’ Especially because everyone back there knows us and knows that we have a brewery out here. It would just be cool.”
They added that such an expansion would only be possible because of the support people in the Park City area have given the brewery since it opened.
“That’s kind of been everything,” he said. “Without that, we wouldn’t still be here. We have the local support, and I think we’ve all lived here long enough to be considered locals. And without everyone going back to the store and buying our beer over and over again, we wouldn’t exist. I mean, we named it Park City Brewery. We felt like Park City needed a namesake brewery, and we wanted it to be like what the locals in Park City are. I feel like we’ve done that. At least I hope.”
But as much local support as Park City Brewery has received, and as excited as its founders are for the future, they are flummoxed that many loyal customers don’t know about one of its defining features: the tap room, where patrons can try beers on draft, sample new brews and catch the big game.
Brian Ray, who manages the tap room, said the brewery is offering a number of weekly events to lure more locals. At Townie Tuesdays, the brewery offers $3 pints and live music from local artists; Wednesdays are for trivia; On Thirsty Thursdays, patrons can get $10 pitchers; and on Fridays the brewery hosts live music and food trucks.
Additionally, the brewery is happy to offer free tours all week long to patrons who want a closer look at where the sudsy magic happens.
Knight said the tap room, complete with a laidback atmosphere and décor that expresses the founders’ love for all things outdoors and everything Park City, is an extension of who they are.
“It just speaks a lot to who we are and what we want to be as a company,” he said.
David Bieber has been a business consultant and entrepreneur for most of his adult life. Now, he is leading the entrepreneur nonprofit PandoLabs.