ST. GEORGE — It has been nearly a year in the making, but the owners of the Zion Brew Pub can see the light at the end of the tunnel with the grand opening of its St. George brewery just around the corner.
Although an exact date for opening their doors to the public hasn’t been set, co-owner Chris Pace has the hardly-waits.
“We’ve always wanted to have a location in St. George,” Pace said. “We have a pub in Springdale and since opening there (in 2012) we’ve developed other avenues that we’ve been pursuing. But when the chance to buy Fire Station 2 opened up, we put an offer in with the city.”
Prior to opening its Springdale pub, the company took over operations of their brewery in 2011, which had been established three years earlier by another owner.
Since then it’s been an upward path to growth for Zion Brewing.
The opening of the St. George location marks another milestone moment for Pace, but he said there is one misconception about the business.
“The misconception is that we are going to be a brewpub,” Pace said. “It’s going to be a bar because we are not going to prepare any food on site. We will have food trucks outside and we will allow people to order pizza. We’ve co-oped with the Pizza Factory who will have a food runner available, so if anyone wants to order from them they are right across the street.”
The vision for the bar is to have two separate service areas with a downstairs tavern and an upstairs bar that includes a billiards room and lounge. Pace added his future plans is to build out a brewery in the main bay of the firehouse sometime next year. He anticipates employing 10 people.
Zion Brew Station II will serve beer brewed at their Springdale location. They will also serve some beers from other Utah breweries including Silver Reef Brewing Co. and a few from Salt Lake City.
“That’s it,” Pace said. “We won’t have any domestic beer on tap.”
City officials are pleased to see continued development in downtown St. George.
Not only will locals be able to enjoy the brewery’s range of beer, but visitors and tourists will also be able to have a cold one, St. George Councilman Ed Baca said.
“A few years ago I was in the pizza place across the street and there was a group of tourists that came in and ordered pizza and want a beer to go along with their food,” Baca said. “Unfortunatly, they didn’t have that to offer.”
This is an example, Baca added, that demonstrates that many people from foreign countries who visit St. George traditionally have a beer with their meal since it is part of their culture.
“I think when you look at the bigger picture it will enhance that type of an opportunity,” Baca said.
Other plans for the brewery include hosting festivals and public events at the brewery located at 150 N. Main St.
“We want this to be a place for the community to come and hang out and just enjoy downtown St. George while having a beer and bringing in food from anywhere really,” Pace said.
Among the potential events on the horizon is an interest from the American Civil Liberties Union to host a function at the brewery, along with a get-together before the annual St. George Marathon.
“It will definitely be a place for all sorts of things to happen,” Pace said.
With the fourth brewery set to open in Southern Utah in less than one year, Pace hopes this is the start of a great relationship between his brewery and city residents. He also hopes this is the start of something much larger.
“When Silver Reef opened they helped open up some avenues for other people, and we are trying to do the same,” Pace said. “Craft beer is really a social thing. In order to let people see that, what we’re trying to do, and what Silver Reef is trying to do, is open it up for everybody. I hope to see more craft breweries come to Southern Utah.”
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