Barley, Water & Hopes

Graham: The sale of Tenaya Creek’s Summerlin location to Golden Entertainment will be a boon to the beer scene 

Tenaya Creek sales manager  Alex Graham, owner Tim Etter and head brewer Anthony Gibson. | Photo by Krystal Ramirez

Tenaya Creek sales manager Alex Graham, owner Tim Etter and head brewer Anthony Gibson. | Photo by Krystal Ramirez

In late August, I toured the new Tenaya Creek Brewing Co. facility at 831 W.  Bonanza Road. The new brewery plans to open between Oct. 22 and Nov. 1, but while this marks an expansion for the homegrown brand, it’s also an out-and-out move. Tenaya’s namesake brewpub at 3101 N. Tenaya Way is not a part of the expansion plan, and has since been sold to Golden Entertainment, which has plans to re-open the venue as PT’s Brewing Company in the first quarter of 2016. During our tour of Tenaya’s new digs, sales manager Alex Graham and I took a moment in the future taproom to discuss the importance of their relocation.

What do you say to people who don’t understand why you are making the move from Tenaya Way to Bonanza Road?

Many people don’t understand that brewing is actually a very industrial industry, and the fact that we are moving to a more industrial-style neighborhood that better suits what we are doing business wise. They don’t understand going from a very nice neighborhood to not-so-nice-yet. They don’t get that once you start building, people start building around you, and you start creating a neighborhood.

We’ve been to several other cities where we’ve seen this happen, where it’s been a very industrial area, not the greatest neighborhood, and then you go there five years later and it’s totally just built up, with other businesses that are kind of similar to ours. When they finally see this building they will get it. They will understand the industrial part of [brewing] and the fact that we need certain requirements for us to grow, such as ceiling height and loading docks for shipping. This isn’t a brewpub-restaurant; this is a brewery.

Photo by Krystal Ramirez

Photo by Krystal Ramirez

Have you reached full capacity at the other location?

We have not reached full capacity, but we don’t want to get stuck in that situation, so we were thinking ahead, knowing where we want to go. And that kind of limits us on markets, because we can’t fully expand and actually have a Vegas brand out there in several other markets. We don’t want to reach that point and then have to say, “This is our ceiling, we’ve reached our ceiling. Now we have to start this process of expanding to another location.” So we are thinking ahead and just trying to get the expansion out of the way. A lot of buildings in this area are starting to get eaten up, and we want the building that suits us best as a brewery and to build around that.

So that leaves the former Tenaya Creek brewery as a turnkey operation for someone else. Thinking about the larger Las Vegas beer scene as a whole, why is that actually a good thing?

We are still a very undeveloped market for beer, and it’s gonna take people like us just going out there and doing it, start building it. We have already had people start going toward this model, such as CraftHaus and Bad Beat, where they said we are not going to have food, we are not going to have gaming, we are not going to have smoking, which is awesome. More people going in that direction will help the scene for all. Even [Golden Entertainment] … It’s just another brewery that’s going to be added to this market to help Vegas actually get recognized for a different type of industry.

It worked for Tenaya Creek, so hopefully it will prove to be an incubator for the next occupant. Does that create more competition for you?

By nature we are all considered competitors, but we’re all friends. It’s friendly competition, and the great thing about this industry is that it’s all people helping each other to grow.


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