Under the Rose Brewing Co., Reno's grittiest craft brewery, is preparing to open a new nano-brewery and full bar in a historic Midtown building. It will be the first of four new businesses to fill the renovated red-brick building.
“We think it’s a really good step for Under the Rose," said owner Scott Emond. "We just can’t wait to be in Midtown."
Emond looked at opening in Midtown back in 2013. One of the places he liked, formerly Eagle Framing, became The Saint. Ultimately, none of them worked out, so instead Emond opened his brewery and taphouse in a large warehouse on Fourth Street.
But Emond said it's time to expand.
Jared Smith and Ambrose Balen, partners of Reno Redevelopment Group, bought and renovated the Midtown building that most recently housed a tattoo parlor, payday loan center and T-shirt store.
The current structure at 1039 S. Virginia St. is actually made up of four combined buildings. It's easy to tell it was the first one on the block because the original windows cut into the outside walls now butt up against The Melting Pot next door. Smith said those windows could easily become future bar shelves for Under the Rose.
Smith and Balen removed the exterior white and purple paint to expose the original 1931 brick, then stripped the insides bare too. Then they added new entrances, roll-up garage doors and security gates to allow for a protected patio. And finally, they prepped the building for four tenants: Under the Rose Brewing Co., a restaurant, another complementary business and a small upstairs office.
They still need tenants for the last three spaces.
You name it, they'll brew it.
Emond wants to use the nano-brewery to make smaller experimental batches in Midtown and keep his current U.K.-inspired staples on Fourth Street.
"We'll crank out a ton of batches of all sorts of fun stuff — sours, fruited, spiced, honeyed — you name it, we'll use it in beer," he said. "But since it’s only seven kegs at a time, we can make those unique beers, and if it’s not a fantastic hit, we can move onto something else.”
The new location will give Emond a chance to appeal to a new audience who may not know they exist. And, he said it'll give him a chance to craft a more polished brand.
"The building lends itself to a higher level of aesthetics," Emond said. "Our Fourth Street location is utilitarian and we and others love that, but this can be more design forward."
Emond said the first Under the Rose location will stay open, but Midtown's customer base is much better.
"There was a lot of buzz about Fourth Street being the next Midtown," he said. "But if you look at the foot traffic and car count of people trying to stay in that area, it’s drastically different. Midtown is a well-established food, beverage and shopping district. I think the Brewery District has that potential, but right now it’s still a destination-tourism district and people hit it up then go back home."
Emond said Fourth Street has more obstacles to growing into a similar, mature district. Midtown still fights negative stereotypes and business owners must push the branding, marketing, events and each other to make it better.
"We'll do our part and hopefully that makes the guy next door better, too," Smith said.
Smith said he plans to light the alleyway behind the building since it receives high foot traffic at night. But it also accumulates graffiti without business activity to deter taggers. He convinced his neighbors at HoHum Motel and The Melting Pot to light the entire alley, too. Double Edge Fitness across the parking lot already lights theirs and uses security cameras to deter crime.
Smith envisions people leaving Chapel Tavern, stopping at the new businesses for food and drink, then moving on toward The Saint and then maybe ending at Public House or Shea's Tavern. And let's be honest, that's pretty much how millennial Midtownies spend Friday nights already.
If all goes as planned, Under the Rose will open in April 2017. Smith and Balen hope to line up the last three tenants before the end of this year so they can all grand open at the same time.
"We're incredibly excited and ready to move forward," Emond said. "Under the Rose will go through a nice big expansion and we’ll hire on a bunch of people and grow."