Park City Brewery shut the doors on its four-year-old taproom for the last time on April 13. But officials say it’s only a temporary closure. They’re already scouting a new location.
“We’re still packaging beers up there but we closed down the taproom,” Scott Ray, the brewery’s managing partner, tells Utah Beer News. “We will be opening another smaller brewing facility and taproom in Park City. The location is to-be-determined. We’ve got a few things in the hopper.”
Park City Moves in With Shades
The idea, in the interim, is to “share resources,” Ray says, between Park City and Shades. Recently, Shades reconfigured its taproom to make room for fermenters from Park City Brewery.
On April 17, Park City posted a photo of its head brewer, Jeremy Ray, brewing in his “new office.” It didn’t disclose the location, but did include a #shadesbrewing hashtag.
The brewery didn’t beat around the bush later in the week, though it’s yet to make an official announcement.
“We will be sharing a space with Shades Brewery down in Salt Lake,” the brewery wrote in a Facebook comment. “We’ll be doing a bulk of our production brewing with them! Stayed tuned for the new PC taproom location.”
Update 2020: It appears that Park City Brewing moved out of the Shades Brewing location and began brewing its beer on equipment at Uinta Brewing in Salt Lake City. As of now, the brewery is still looking for a new taproom location in Park City.
The inability to keep up with production demands, Ray says, proved to be the primary reason for shuttering the Rasmussen Road facility, which sits outside the resort town’s city limits.
Park City Brewery currently operates on a 15-barrel system. Shades, meantime, utilizes a 30-barrel brewhouse.
Park City Brewery plans to keep its smaller brewhouse — as well as its canning line — to install at its yet-to-be-determined new location in Park City.
“The building we are in is too small,” Ray says. “We can’t keep up with production. We just don’t have enough capacity. When people can’t get their product, they get a little frustrated. We’ve run into some issues there for sure with some of our accounts. That problem is definitely going to be solved now.”
For Shades’ part, the South Salt Lake brewery had space to spare in its 13,000-square-foot facility.
“We’ve got all this capacity, a huge building,” Shades founder Trent Fargher says. “I thought, ‘maybe they want to brew under the same roof and share a brew kettle.’ We can share some of those resources. It cuts down on their overhead, cuts down on our overhead. It was something similar to what Wasatch and Squatters did years ago. We see the model worked.”
Plus, Shades Brewing features a ceiling height able to accommodate Park City’s 90-barrel fermenters. That’s a luxury Park City Brewery’s current building doesn’t afford.
Neither party sees an issue sharing space with a theoretical competitor.
“I think it’s a win-win relationship,” Fargher says. “Even though we’re both selling beer, we’re really targeting different parts of the population. It seems to be a good symbiotic relationship. We don’t see this as a competition by any means.”
Park City also brought down several 30-barrel tanks that could benefit both breweries. While Shades is brewing more distinct beers, Park City is brewing fewer styles but often in larger quantities.
“They make a lot fewer styles of beers than we do,” Fargher says. “It makes sense for them to use the larger-volume tanks. We need more tanks because we’re turning over 20-plus beers now.”
Upcoming: The Brewery Collective
In addition, wheels are in motion to create a separate company that would be known as The Brewery Collective, Ray says. Park City Brewery and Shades Brewing would operate under that umbrella.
“We’re still working on transferring licenses and filling out paperwork and installing some new equipment,” Ray told Utah Beer News in a telephone interview in April. “As soon as everything’s properly filed and tanks are all operational…we’re trying to get it done very soon.”
All Park City Brewery employees were given the option to work at the Shades Brewing facility in South Salt Lake, Ray says.
“The company is still Park City Brewery,” he says. “We just created a third-party company for sharing employees, ingredients, and things like that.”
“I think it’s all good,” Fargher says. “It makes sense from a cost perspective on both sides.”
Fargher started his brewery in 2010 in Park City — Shades of Pale — before moving it to South Salt Lake in 2014. The company became known as Shades Brewing Co. in 2018.
The two brewery owners go way back. In fact, Ray remembers talking with Fargher about what would ultimately become Shades Brewing long before he conceived the idea for Park City Brewery.
“It’s cool to work with another brewery and share those resources,” Ray says. “That’s going to be fun. That’s what the whole craft industry is about.”
When Utah Beer News stopped by the South Salt Lake brewery in mid-April, Park City Brewery was commissioning its first pilot batches on Shades Brewing equipment. It served beer from the Shades facility during this year’s Tour de Brewtah event on May 4.