The legendary creator of Knee Deep Brewing Co. returned to Northern Nevada to build one of the largest, hoppiest breweries in Sparks for $2 million.
"I decided if I started another brewery, I would not start small," said Jeremy Warren, CEO and co-founder of the new Revision Brewing Co. "If you know what you're doing, you should start it off right. It's going to be run like a legitimate, state-of-the art brewing facility."
More beer than most
Warren and his four partners leased a 30,000 square foot warehouse in Sparks, on Rock Boulevard and Glendale Avenue, for the new production brewery and taproom. Their initial brewhouse will be capable of producing more beer than most other breweries in the state, only to be matched by Great Basin Brewing Co. and Joseph James Brewing Co. in Las Vegas.
"We want to make Reno-Sparks part of the big west coast brew scene," he said, referencing huge breweries like Pizza Port, Track 7 or Stone Brewing. He even wants to collaborate with brewmasters from these major regional breweries.
The initial brewery equipment takes up a small portion of Revision Brewing's warehouse, allowing it plenty of room to double in size when they need to expand. Warren said they also plan to use hundreds of bourbon — or other spirits and wine — barrels to age all styles of beer, especially sours. They will immediately distribute kegs and bottles once it opens at the end of the year.
Inside the warehouse, the old retail storefront will be converted to a taproom with a bar that passes between it and the warehouse for two different drinking views — one of drunk friends, another view of the brewery.
Is there such a thing as too much beer?
If Revision Brewing produces enough beer to reach capacity, Warren might have to close the taproom and convert to a full production brewery due to legal limits in Nevada. Warren is hoping they can help change state law next year before they are forced to shut down the taproom though.
Great Basin Brewing Co. went through the same trouble a few years ago. They opened a similarly sized production brewery and decided to close the taproom in case it produces more than the limit imposed on "brewpubs" with on-premise sales.
Each time breweries around Nevada bring their concerns to the Nevada Legislature with revised bills, their attempts to dramatically change Nevada's beer laws fail. In other states, such as California, several tiers for brewery size, distribution and production allow different breweries to also serve beer from a bar on site. Even Utah has more liberal beer laws now.
Warren said he might consider opening brewpubs in other states to brand and serve beer to customers without limiting their ability to produce and distribute around the world.
"Which would suck, because it could take jobs away from the area," he said.
In fact, Revision Brewing has already secured distribution agreements in four states without giving out samples or even having tanks installed yet. That's not normal. But Warren and his crew garnered a reputation as being the prodigal sons of craft beer in Reno before opening Knee Deep Brewing in California six years ago.
Northern Nevada almost didn't get the new brewery because of that regional reputation. But to the chagrin of beer lovers in Sacramento, Warren and his partners found a better deal and warehouse to start the behemoth brewery in Sparks. Sorry, not sorry, California.
"This is where it all started, so why not come back," Warren said.
This was all made possible because Warren sold Knee Deep Brewing last July. Part of the money from that sale helps fund work on the new brewery. A $1.5 million small business loan from Plumas Bank — whose underwriters loved drinking Knee Deep Brewing, Warren said — and two other partners familiar with the brewing world, also made Revision Brewing's plans possible.
Most breweries, especially in Northern Nevada, start with less money and a smaller facility, then work their way up to this size after many years.
Knee Deep Brewing, for example, started in Warren's garage more than 10 years ago before eventually opening in Auburn, California. Warren helped take Knee Deep national with award-winning IPAs and a vanilla brown ale, called Tanilla.
"If you like Knee Deep, expect what they were making but taken to the next level," Warren said.
The future is complex
Head brewer Jeb Taylor wants to use some of the newest varieties of hops coming out of Washington for their recipes. Warren described the future beers as being more layered and complex than other similar IPAs.
They will also use lactobacillus (aka "lacto") and brettanomyces (aka "brett") bacteria to sour beers. But, unlike many others, they plan to also use pediococcus (aka "pedio"), which produces funkier sours, such as lambics and Flanders styles, according to Draft Magazine. Because of the pedio, Warren said they will want to find another 5,000 square foot warehouse off site so the pedio doesn't infect the main brewery.
"I'm not afraid of the lacto or brett," he said. "But you don't mess around with pedio."
Sour beers have picked up in popularity after the big IPA boom a few years ago. Several regional breweries, including Imbib Custom Brews and Tahoe Mountain Brewery focus heavily on producing barrel-aged sour beers. But regional breweries also don't focus heavily on the big hop bomb IPAs popular in California and Oregon, so Revision Brewing will bring a new layer to the other 22 brewing companies in the area.
"Everyone who's part of this team, loves craft beer," said Darla Roberts, vice president of sales and marketing.
The complete Northern Nevada craft beer and spirits map: