March 4, 2013 | Back to: News

Nevada City brewery taps in to local scene during first year


It’s been a year since ol’ Republic Brewery opened its doors and tapped into the thirsty, a western Nevada County devoid of a local beer crafter.

Quenching that demand has pushed the brewery’s owners to grow faster than their initial optimistic predictions.

“A year from now, we were anticipating being where we are now,” said Jim Harte, who co-owns and brews with Simon Olney.

“We’re just starting to figure out who we will be when we grow up,” Hart said jokingly about the brewery’s “break-neck” growth.

In the last year, the brewery has produced and sold more than 15,000 gallons.

While gauging an exact number of customers isn’t easy because so many of them return more than once, Harte said the brewery has more than 1,600 people in its reward program and sold more than 2,000 stainless steel or glass growlers that owners can have filled to take brews home with them.

“The majority of our customers are Nevada City and Grass Valley residents,” Harte said.

“We’ve become a hub here,” Olney added. “We’ve become a neighborhood hot spot.”

When the pair started a year ago, it had four fermenting tanks and eight aging tanks, which enabled the pair to produce five varieties of beer. Today, the duo is using five fermenters and 11 aging tanks to craft 13 varieties of beer.

And that’s not all that’s on tap.

Harte and Olney have plans underway to expand the brewery to 12 fermenters and 27 aging tanks, they said.

To do this, the brewery is spilling out of its doors behind SPD Market in the Seven Hills business district and into a nearby building that will house all those tanks.

In December, the brewery delivered its first commercial keg to Matteo’s Public, a downtown Nevada City restaurant. Since then, eight other businesses have begun to feature ol’ Republic’s brews, and Hatre and Olney will make five-gallon kegs available for personal sale later this month, they said.

By mid-to late summer, the two owners also plan to put their brews into bottles for retail sale, Harte said.

Demand for the brewery’s beers has kept Harte and Olney busy. Since the two began the process of building the brewery two years ago, they haven’t had a whole lot of time off.

When the pair had a soft opening last February, they were working 16- to 18-hour days a piece, they said. It was only five months ago that they began to take turns having a Sunday off every other week.

“We just worked so hard that we lost track of the days,” Olney said. “It feels like we just opened yesterday.”

To contact Staff Writer Christopher Rosacker, email crosacker@theunion.com or call (530) 477-4236.

Christopher Rosacker
crosacker@theunion.com

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The Union Updated Mar 4, 2013 02:48PM Published Mar 5, 2013 12:15PM Copyright 2013 The Union. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.