Grid City Beer Works is thriving despite the pandemic
Justin Belliveau and Drew Reynolds began brainstorming a plan for a brewery after becoming neighbors in 2014 and learning both had a passion for beer. Belliveau credits Reynolds with teaching him to really enjoy beer and (re) introducing him to head brewer, Jeremy Gross. Gross had been brewing home brew for some time and was then the lead bartender at High West in Park City. After an introduction by Reynolds, Gross and Belliveau discovered they had worked together many years ago at the Lakota in Park City.
“It was great to rekindle a friendship, and to see how his skills had progressed through his work at Bohemian and Uinta breweries,” Belliveau said. “Jeremy’s talent is vast- he’s got a deep knowledge of brewing chemistry and how this shapes flavor profiles in not only beer, but spirits and food as well. I think the three of us felt a little star-crossed at that meeting, and the wheels went into motion [from] there.”
The power of three
Grid City Beer Works is a working brewery and tap room. They feature five primary beers― three of which are ales, a Honey Cream, Pale and Brown that they serve three different ways, ‘traditional CO2; nitrogenated to provide a thick creamy head; and in the traditional real ale style conditioned in casks’.
“We developed each of our five beers with a focus on three key things that drive the beer drinking experience: Taste (the sensation of flavor); Balance (the aesthetically pleasing integration of elements); and Finish (the final taste impression) are the guiding principles for each style we brew,” Reynolds said.
“We also heightened the experience of these sensations by developing beers that shine in each of the three ways we serve our ales (cask, nitro, and Co2), and our two pilsners that are served in both the conventional draft format and in the traditional Czech style from a side-pull faucet which in itself generates three distinct pours and beer experiences.”
Opening in the midst of a pandemic
Opening a new business is challenging in itself, couple that with the effects of the pandemic and it might feel like your business is left to the mercy of things beyond your control. Logos and packaging designs were complete, but Grid City Beer Works’ business model emphasizes a taproom experience where customers can experience beer making on display. You can imagine the disappointment of having a target grand opening for March and having to push that back indefinitely.
“It’s been heartbreaking to work six years on this [business] and have to cancel our ribbon cutting we’d planned for March 19th. But we are optimists at our core and have survived by pivoting to takeout business and to packaging our beer for sale in other outlets,” Belliveau said. “It’s caused us to be hyper-focused on our mission and to leverage the assets we have at our disposal.”
For example, though the trio hadn’t planned on packaging and selling their beers for years to come, they scoured classified ads looking for canning equipment and getting the licensing needed to offer their products in all of the Whole Foods stores in the state instead of dine-in service during the pandemic. And as of June 5th, the brewery is finally open for dine-in, so the three founders can share what they love most with the public.
“The number three, it [appears] everywhere on this project, and is so unique and ironic to us,” Reynolds said. “We are at 333 west 2100 south, there are three owners, there are three ways to try the beer, the temps on our fermentation tanks in the brewery do not get lower than 33.3 degrees, and our motto is the triumvirate Taste, Balance, Finish. Some of this was intentional, but most of it just emerged and we can’t wait to find all the other ironies of the number three in this venture.”