Now that my estimated timeline for Tombstone Brewing Company is actually beginning to look realistic, it seems like a good time to publicly write something about the project. I’m always curious when new breweries pop up, and I feel like there’s never enough information to satisfy me. I don’t want Tombstone Brewing Company to be that way, so I hope to put up regular posts here talking about the status of the project and what I envision for the brewery in general.
Aside from the occasional interested internet surfer, I expect that only my mom and a handful of friends will read this, so it seems a little silly talking about myself. It’s a big thing I like to know about other breweries, though, so I’d be a bit of a hypocrite not giving a little background.
I’m sort of the stereotypical guy who starts a brewery after another career, which doesn’t exactly make for riveting social media. I’m a licensed attorney and have owned a law firm for several years, but I’ve also been homebrewing for a lot longer than that. So there’s the whole homebrewer-with-dream element on top of the similarly common professional-leaves-career-to-make-beer element.
Luckily, lots of people in those categories have made great beers on a commercial scale, and where I hope I can mimic the best examples of the stereotypes are with the scope of my beer background and the fact I’m hiring an experienced professional as head brewer for the venture.
I love beer, but so do countless other people. Passion is a given in the beer business, a prerequisite to thinking about opening a brewery rather than even a modest guarantee for success. I want to the brewery to make incredible beer that people want to drink, and I feel like I’ve put in my time to know good beer. I also understand the skills a seasoned professional can bring to the table. Barring something unforeseen, I think I’ll be able to announce my head brewer hire in the very near future.
As for the status of everything else, my goal is still an official grand opening at the beginning of Helldorado Days, sometime on October 21, 2016. The event has been around for 86 years and brings lots of people to town, plus the brewery will probably produce a Munich Helles called Helles Dorado. I can’t not take advantage of an obvious pun. Hence the fact the brewery, which is located at 107 E Toughnut, will almost certainly produce an English brown ale called Toughnut Brown as well.
Getting back on point, my decision to pick that date was looking at the calendar at some point in 2015 and picking a date in 2016 that fell at the far end of the time range other brewery owners told me it took them to open their doors. Still, it seemed entirely unrealistic when I semi-arbitrarily picked it, as I want several beers ready to go by then. I’m always disappointed when I go to a brewery and there aren’t enough of their beers on tap. I also love a lot of traditional lager styles that I feel aren’t brewed nearly enough in Arizona, but the more of those I want to make, the farther out my opening is going to have to be if I really want a variety of beers available.
October 21, 2016 was a compromise, and I’ll hopefully have at least one lager and at least three ales on tap by then. Two will be the aforementioned golden lager and brown ale, and on top of that I expect to make a saison and an IPA. I love a rustic farmhouse beer, and I wish more Arizona breweries made them. I also love IPAs, especially the bright, juicy sort that a lot of breweries are making these days. I anticipate making a lot of different one-off beers in addition to that core lineup. I’ve already got a line on some interesting barrels too, for those who are into that sort of thing.
That leads me to the business model. The brewhouse is going to be a 15bbl steam system, and I’m expecting it’ll be delivered at the end of July. I’m building a taproom in the front around what used to be the Helldorado Brewing Company’s bar, which still fills the front space despite the fact the building was city hall for a while and then a factory. I’ve already reached out to some delicious area food trucks so I’ll be able to offer customers more than just beer. On top of that, I’ll be canning, though I’ve yet to settle on whether it’ll be four-packs of 16oz cans or six-packs of 12oz cans. I expect to have the canning line by opening, but it’ll probably take a little time past that to get it dialed in.
So that’s the project in a nutshell. In the next few weeks, expect information about the plans and design as well as all sorts of other things related to turning a big empty building into a brewery.