Will 2018 Go Down as ‘Year of the Brewery’ in Utah?

Year of the Brewery 2018 - T.F. Brewing Featured - Utah Beer News

It’s not a stretch to call 2018 The Year of the Brewery in Utah.

No fewer than six craft breweries — a 25% increase in the state’s brewing operations — opened their doors this year. Several others are in the works. And we still have 21 days before last call of 2018.

That’s on the heels of 2017, which saw four new breweries open in the Beehive State, according to the Utah Beer Blog.

Salt Lake's T.F. Brewing opened in late October. It's one of several new breweries to open in Utah in 2018.
Salt Lake’s T.F. Brewing opened in late October. It’s one of several new breweries to open in Utah in 2018.

It’s not just within the Salt Lake Valley where breweries are popping up, either.

The growth stretches from Cedar City (Policy Kings) to Ogden (ZólupezRoosters expansion; UTOG, Ogden River in the works). St. George has one (Silver Reef) expected to come on line soon as well.

But the greater Salt Lake area definitely is holding its own.

SaltFire Brewing Co., Toasted Barrel Brewery, and T.F. Brewing all opened their doors in 2018. Proper Brewing Co. is set to open a new restaurant — Stratford Proper — tonight. It, of course, will feature the brewery’s beer.

Hopkins Brewing Co., which reportedly took over Epic’s old The Annex space in Sugar House, might sell its first beer before year’s end. Level Crossing Brewing and Grid City Beer Works are eyeing early-2019 openings.

And while not a new brewery, South Salt Lake’s Shades Brewing underwent a significant rebrand in October.

Utah mirrors the trend nationally. The United States, as of November, is now home to 7,000 active craft breweries, according to the Brewers Association. It marks an 18% year-over-year increase. There are more than 2,000 breweries in planning across the U.S.

What do you think? Will 2018 go down as ‘Year of the Brewery’ in Utah? Or are we just getting started?

Not One-Note Wonders

Even more, not all these breweries are doing the same thing or approaching business the same way. It’s truly a Golden Age for craft-beer consumption in Utah.

T.F. Brewing focuses on brewing classic lagers.
T.F. Brewing focuses on brewing classic lagers.

T.F. Brewing, the newest of Salt Lake’s breweries, focuses on German-style lagers. Kevin Templin, an award-winning brewer who spent nearly two decades at Red Rock Brewing, hit the ground running at his own place.

Toasted Barrel, meantime, specializes in barrel-aged sour beers. It’s the newest and northern-most of 400 West’s pocket of breweries and cideries (joining Mountain West Hard Cider and Red Rock Brewing).

Cerveza Zólupez Beer Company, in Ogden, is the smallest of Utah’s commercial breweries. A self-described “small batch nano brewery,” Zólupez is producing five gallons at a time, each batch yielding roughly four dozen 12-ounce bottles.

Aside from brewers specializing in distinct styles, they’re also taking varied approaches when it comes to distribution.

Overall, some brewers make beer available only at their brewery or tasting room. Others package and deliver to Utah’s liquor, grocery, and convenience stores. Or to restaurants and bars, packaged and on draft. Some do it all.

Certain brewers brew primarily 4% alcohol-by-volume (ABV) offerings to serve on draft, per Utah law (the 3.2% rule). Others brew the lower-alcohol — so-called “session” beers — in conjunction with high-point, or higher-alcohol, beers to package in cans and bottles.

Whatever the size of the brewery or however its beer is distributed, the fact remains: The Utah craft beer scene is booming right now.

2018: Year of the Brewery

SaltFire Brewing Co. officially opened on May 19, 2018.
SaltFire Brewing Co. officially opened on May 19, 2018.

As of Dec. 10, 2018, the following Utah breweries opened their doors or expanded within the last 12 months.

SaltFire Brewing Co.

Located in South Salt Lake (2199 S. West Temple), SaltFire Brewing Co. opened to the public on May 19, 2018. It sells unique 500mL bottles and recently remodeled to install a new bar area. SaltFire, named People’s Choice winner at the 2018 Utah Brew Fest, says a grand “re-opening” is in the works to celebrate its new bar license. Read our thoughts on SaltFire’s Dirty Chai Stout.

Toasted Barrel Brewery

Toasted Barrel specializes in barrel-aged beers.

Salt Lake’s Toasted Barrel, which opened on June 23, 2018, specializes in barrel-aged beers. The taproom (412 W. 600 N.) is a cozy place to enjoy a sample flight. One limitation: Its license allows for patrons to consume 16 ounces of beer per day. Generally, I’ll grab four four-ounce tasters.

We shared a few thoughts on Toasted Barrel’s Weisseman, a kettle-soured Berliner weisse.

Policy Kings Brewery


A family-owned brewery in Cedar City, Policy Kings Brewery sold its first beer on Oct. 16, 2018. Its taproom (223 N. 100 W.) opened in early November. Beers, cocktails, and light snacks are available. Plus, it looks like there are several board games to play while sipping a pint.

T.F. Brewing

As mentioned above, T.F. Brewing is the newest member (as of now) of Salt Lake’s craft brewery community. It opened on Oct. 26, 2018 and is located at 936 S. 300 W. Read more about the brewery: T.F. Brewing: Welcome to the Neighborhood.

Cerveza Zólupez Beer Company

Zolupez Logo

The nano brewery in Ogden opened on Nov. 3, 2018. Zólupez specializes in brewing beers to be paired with Mexican dishes and spicy food. It’s located at 205 W. 29th Street, Unit #2 in Ogden.

Roosters B. Street Brewery

One of Utah’s longest-running craft beer brands (est. 1995), Roosters Brewing opened a beautiful 13,000-square-foot production facility on Dec. 1, 2018. Located at 2325 B Ave. in West Ogden, it’s Roosters‘ third location and features a pub.

Stratford Proper

Though not a brewery, Stratford Proper, a fourth location for Proper Brewing Co. (joining its Main Street and Avenues locations, as well as Proper Burger), is slated to open on Dec. 10. It’s located at 1588 E. Stratford Ave. and will serve breakfast (coffee and pastries), lunch, and dinner. It features a full-service restaurant liquor license, according to a story in The Salt Lake Tribune.

Hopkins Brewing Co. (updated Dec. 15, 2018)

Hopkins Brewing Co., 1048 E. 2100 S., brewed first batch on Nov. 28, 2018 and celebrated its grand opening on Dec. 31, 2018. It’s located in the former Epic Annex in Sugar House and plans to be open seven days a week, 11 a.m. to midnight.

‘Year of the Brewery’ Trend to Continue in 2019

The following are breweries we’ve heard are in the works and plan to open within the next several months.

Mark Medura, owner of Level Crossing Brewing. The brewery is slated to open in early 2019 in South Salt Lake.
Mark Medura, owner of Level Crossing Brewing. The brewery is slated to open in early 2019 in South Salt Lake.

If anyone has additional information about the in-the-works breweries, please let us know.

  • Grid City Beer Works: 333 W. 2100 S. Shooting for early 2019 opening, according to a Facebook post.
  • Level Crossing Brewing Company: 2496 S. West Temple. Chatted with owner Mark Medura in late October. At the time, he said plans were to open in March 2019.
  • Maple Mountain Brew Co.: It’s been a long slog for this prospective Utah County brewery. Originally slated for Provo, it appears plans are in place to open in Spanish Fork (2000 N. 300 W.). In a SLUG Magazine article in April 2018, owner Andrew Fullmer hoped to be in full production in “nine to 12 months.”
  • Ogden River Brewing: 1921 Lincoln Ave., Ogden. Housed in the historic Becker Brewing and Malting Company. A crowdfunding campaign helped homebrewer Pat Winslow get one step closer to his dream. Opening date TBD.
  • Silver Reef Brewing Co.: 4391 S. Enterprise Drive, St. George. Brewhouse built in September, according to a Facebook posting. Website directs to St. George’s Beverage. Opening date TBD.
  • Strap Tank Brewery (Lehi): Its Springville location opened in 2016 and a second brewhouse in Lehi is nearing completion. Plans are to open in March 2019, according to a Strap Tank Instagram post.
  • UTOG Brewing: 2331 Grant Ave., Ogden. Finishing construction on the brewhouse in late November. Opening date TBD.

What Did We Miss?

As recent as a couple years ago, fewer than 20 breweries called Utah home. Now, by our count, that number is 29 (more, if you include breweries with multiple properties, pubs, etc.).

According to Brewers Association figures, 46 breweries or brewpubs are either open or in planning throughout the state. (Looking through the list, it includes several unnamed breweries that may or may not ever brew a batch of beer).

Yet, as of 2017, Utah ranked 44th nationally with 1.5 breweries per capita (per 100,000 21+ adults). It seems there is still room to grow.

Perhaps the best part for beer drinkers: As of now, none of the breweries opened in the last several years has shut down.

We started Utah Beer News in May 2018. The half-dozen or so breweries that opened in 2018 all started brewing in the second half of the year.

It’s tough — albeit exciting — to keep pace with all the brewery construction and openings. Please leave a comment or drop a line if you know of a Utah brewery in progress or that recently opened.

If you’re a Utah brewer or brewery owner who’d like to share your story on Utah Beer News, please contact us for consideration. Thank you.