“Craft by Proper is a venue to be able to show off all the amazing things that Utah brewers are doing.”
— Rio Connelly, Proper Brewing Co. Brewer & Co-Owner
What if you were able to visit a single spot and select a beer from any one of Utah’s 30-plus craft breweries? Pretty cool thought, right?
That’s the idea behind Craft by Proper, dubbed “Utah’s only Utah-only beer bar.”
“The hope is to literally represent every single brewery in Utah at this bar,” says Rio Connelly, co-owner of Proper Brewing Co., which is the parent of Craft by Proper. “We’re going to have a lot of beer, and it’s all going to be made in Utah.”
To do that, the new Sugar House beer bar — scheduled to open April 19 — will feature 36 tap handles and a stockpile of 80+ different cans/bottles.
The concept, while it may seem strange for a craft brewer to sell dozens of competing beers alongside his own, is nothing new for Connelly.
Bonus: Subscribe to the Utah Beer News Podcast and listen to the full interview with Craft by Proper. Hear co-owner and brewer Rio Connelly talk about why he believes you might not see certain beers on tap in the Salt Lake valley. Learn how Craft by Proper plans to curate its beer list. And listen as the brewer describes his philosophy on competition vs. camaraderie in the Utah beer industry.
Avenues Proper: Filling the Gaps
Proper Brewing Co.’s initial venture, Avenues Proper, opened in 2013. It’s always been a spot to showcase beers from around the state.
Connelly notes that the Avenues “restaurant & publick house” became the first brewery in Utah to offer someone else’s product as a guest tap on a regular basis. At the time, it held the title of Utah’s smallest commercial brewery. But it featured 12 tap handles. Filling all those with Proper beers proved futile.
Necessity, as they say, is the mother of invention.
“I only (brewed) a few beers so I’m not going to be able to make everything,” Connelly remembers. “How am I going to be able to fill the gaps in my list?”
In its early days, of the dozen handles at Avenues Proper, more than half may have been occupied by other breweries’ beers. That’s shifted now, with only a couple taps pouring non-Proper beers.
Enter Craft by Proper.
“When we started looking at opening another bar, what is becoming Craft by Proper, we wanted to take that dream to its logical conclusion,” Connelly says. “We put as many taps as we could fit in the building. And as many bottles and cans as we could fit based on storage space.”
A Two-Story Craft Beer Destination
Even now, the Proper Brewing team can only fill a fraction of the tap handles available at Craft by Proper. So beer drinkers can expect to see a wide variety of beers from breweries near and far — as long as they don’t cross the state line.
Above all, the Craft by Proper folks are eager to provide diversity in beer. The approach aims to offer space for breweries who currently might not be well-represented on tap handles in the greater Salt Lake area.
Utah’s thriving craft beer scene affords the folks at Craft by Proper the opportunity to curate a decidedly unique beer list. It likely won’t feature craft beers commonly found at bars across the Salt Lake valley.
“We don’t need to be redundant given what we’re able to do,” says Eleanor Lewis, Proper Brewing’s Marketing Director. “In this district we’re trying to offer something a little more unique in terms of the diversity of the beers.”
The street-level space will feature the primary bar area with seating for about 150. The basement includes a variety of games (similar to Proper Brewing’s Main Street location), as well as a second bar.
That one will serve exclusively Proper Brewing beers on most nights. However, Lewis envisions multiple uses for the space, including special beer releases by Proper and others, private events, movie nights, and more.
A Beehive State Showcase
Utah is already home to several fine beer bars, Connelly acknowledges. They provide craft beer enthusiasts with hundreds of options from brewers locally, nationally, and internationally.
He saw a need for such a place in Sugar House, albeit with a twist.
“We wanted a place where Utah really takes center stage,” says Connelly, a one-time president of the Utah Brewers Guild. “Everything we’re doing is showing off the quality of what my friends and colleagues in the Utah brewing industry are doing.”
And, as you’d expect, the focus begins and ends with the beer.
“The highest priority is going to be put on the quality of the product and how we serve that product to you,” Connelly says.
About Craft by Proper
Craft by Proper is dubbed Utah’s Only Utah-Only Beer Bar. That is, it features 36 tap handles and 80+ cans and bottles brewed exclusively within the Beehive State.
Located in the heart of Sugar House, Craft by Proper features two levels. The primary bar and seating area is at street level. The basement includes a second bar as well as an entertainment area filled with arcade games, pinball machines, and Skee-Ball.
The bar, which opens to the public on April 19, 2019, doesn’t plan to offer typical on-site food service. But the establishment is working closely with neighboring restaurants to ensure Craft by Proper guests don’t go hungry.
Craft by Proper (21+ only) expects to dedicate a tap handle to local hard cider, as well as to ginger beer. A selection of spirits will be available, too.
To see the beer bar come to life, check out Craft by Proper on Instagram.
- Opened: April 19, 2019
- Address: 1053 E. 2100 S., Salt Lake City, UT 84106
- Hours: Monday-Friday 4 p.m. – 1 a.m.; Saturday-Sunday 12 p.m. – 1 a.m.
- Notable: It’s the first bar in Utah dedicated to Utah beers. Thirty-six tap handles and 80+ high-point cans/bottles will be on the menu from the outset. Limited storage space could mean Craft by Proper might only get a keg or two of a brew at a time, meaning you might need to act quick for particularly buzz-worthy beers.
- Website: https://www.craftbyproper.com/
- Social Media: Facebook, Instagram