The SlotZilla zipline project is bearing down on the east portal to the Fremont Street Experience canopy, but that’s not the only new construction on the block. Adjacent to that steel tower, Banger Brewing Co. is making good on its plan to bring fresh, locally made beer to Downtown. And it doesn’t get any fresher than this.
When I recently visited the Neonopolis location, all five of the Banger Brewing guys were on hand, as was a parade of electricians, inspectors and contractors. Roberto Mendoza (marketing), Nick Fischella (finance), Marc Longwith (distribution and brand development), Michael “Banger” Beaman (head brewer) and Eddy Quiogue (operations) met while working in Bellagio restaurants, and have remained tight, home-brewing from Longwith’s home and saving personal funds as well as bringing on investors, including the Downtown Project, to help bring their collective dreams of owning a brewery into reality. That it’s actually happening might surprise a few local skeptics, but if any of the guys is shocked or intimidated, he’s not showing it. “I’d like to have the mayor pour the first pint!” Fischella declares. Hiring begins at 10 a.m. September 8 and 9.
Banger Brewing Co. has signed a five-year lease for 3,000 square feet on the ground floor of the former Jillian’s entertainment complex with two five-year extension options. The glassed-in working microbrewery and industrial-feeling barroom is on track for a late-October opening, offering fresh draft beers, growler filling and keg sales, as well as guest taps for fellow local brewing companies. At the 10-seat bar, you can munch on gourmet popcorn while sipping Banger’s year-round portfolio, recipes they’ve road-tested at beer festivals, including the flagship Perfect 10 Pale Ale, Sandia Watermelon Wheat, Session Blonde, El Heffe Jalapeño Hefeweizen, A Hoppy Ending IPA and an unnamed brown ale. Beer being one of the most open-source of alcoholic beverages, free daily tours will keep the conversation flowing. “People love to drink it, but not everyone knows how it’s made,” Fischella says.
A three-barrel brewhouse and five seven-barrel fermenters are set to arrive later this month, and construction is moving at a brisk pace, but as the Banger boys are finding out, it’s not all beer and roses. The property they have leased is still tied into the plumbing and electrical grid of neighbors Krave Massive, Drink & Drag and the Heart Attack Grill. Turn on the Grill’s bathroom light and something at Banger flips on—surprises have lurked behind every surface. The brewery sits atop a parking garage, so they don’t technically own their floors, and they don’t own what’s above it either.
But they’re not going it alone. Consultant Jim DiFiore spent more than two decades as business license manager for the City of Las Vegas, responsible for oversight of the administration and enforcement of business license codes. And he’s helping the guys navigate Las Vegas’ often-changing business licensing waters. “He’s been like an uncle along the way for us,” Mendoza says. “But not the crazy uncle, the cool one,” Fischella counters. “And whatever we don’t know,” Longwith says, “we’re just going to learn.”
Banger Brewing Co.
450 Fremont St., Suite 135, BangerBrewing.com.