ST. GEORGE — Zion Brewery has experienced some recent expansion with the opening of their new Fire Station 2 location in St. George. Not only have they expanded as a company but in November, a new Utah bill allowing the prior 3.2% alcohol percentage by weight limit to be lifted to 4% came into effect. This gave their brewers more freedom while brewing their beers.
“The law changing to 5% was fantastic,” Zion brewery brewmaster Jeremy Baxter said. “The ability to make more full-bodied, full-flavored beers at 5% versus 4% is basically undeniable. It’s not everything that we as brewers probably wish we could have but we’ll take what we can get. I’d love to see it open up further down the road but I’m not going to hold my breath about it.”
Utah is behind the curve in regard to their alcohol regulations, but this was a big jump for breweries around the state. While some were not very happy with the change, as it would open up the shelves to bigger brands, Zion did not really feel that hit. Since they are a draft-only brewery, their clientele comes to them for their beer.
“Every brewer has a dream of being some regional force, but it’s important to look where you’re at and focus on the local footprint,” Baxter said. “Find yourself succeeding in that aspect then look at the next step. We’re just going with what we’ve got going.”
Talking on what they have got going on, the recent opening of Station 2 in downtown St. George has been a hit.
“As a brewer, it’s fantastic,” Baxter said. “It’s great to be able to bounce down and open a place in St. George to offer our beers directly to the clientele and to the beer drinkers in Southern Utah.”
The newest outlet for Zion’s beers has turned into a very welcoming place with a bar soon to be opened in the second story of the building. It’s popularity has been shown but also brings a rise in demand.
When asked about what’s next for them, Baxter laughed and said they will be brewing a lot more beer. They are aiming to produce as much beer as they can so that they can keep up with the high demand. He mentioned that it seems like their kegs go flying out of their brewery and off to another restaurant or one of their locations.
With that high demand comes a desire for newer beers and a variety of styles. Baxter said that is something they have been looking into.
“We’re always experimenting with new flavors and new styles,” Baxter said. “It’s made us focus on our production capabilities. We’re looking at, with what we have now, potentially being able to nearly double our production. That would max us out. We’d be brewing five days a week but we’re a brewery that brews to demand as a draft-only brewery.”
The overlying message from the Zion brewers – they are honing in on what they have going on and they are trying to do it as best they can.
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