Four Peaks Brewing Company has been an East Valley fixture for 16 years. Its variety of beer retails not only across the state, but nationwide and even in other countries.
So what does Arizona’s most recognizable brewery do when it tops out at 40,000 barrels per year in production? It builds a new facility in its Tempe hometown that allows the company to brew another 40,000. In November Four Peaks opened the location that does just that at 2401 S. Wilson St.
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It’s simple, Four Peaks owner Randy Schultz said about what the new location brings to the table.
“We’ll be able to make more beer,” he said. “We’ll double our capacity from where we were.”
In addition to increased production, the new facility also doubles as a tasting room for Four Peaks’ popular lineup of brews.
Schultz said it’s the next logical step for the brewery that has seen steady growth over its time.
“We’ve been steadily growing during our existence and we’ll just continue at that same pace,” Schultz said.
The company used Saturday, the closing day of last week’s Arizona Beer Week, to showcase the new facility with its “Beers, Blues & BBQ” grand opening celebration.
In addition to food trucks and brewery tours, the company’s famed seasonal Pumpkin Porter — a fall staple available this one time earlier in the year — was on tap.
Schultz acknowledged the beer’s popularity: “It’s crazy, man, it has a crazy cult following.”
Part of its allure, Schultz said, is that it satisfies the tastes of many different beer drinkers; it balances pumpkin sweetness and “smoky overtones.” And, it’s a seasonal beer, which is only brewed in limited capacity.
“Every year, there’s only so much of it we can make,” Schultz said.
In addition to the Pumpkin Porter and other seasonal beers, a number of food trucks were on hand as well; that’s expected to continue at the tasting room. Food won’t necessarily be served on site like at Four Peaks’ other Tempe and Scottsdale locations, but with some of the Valley’s top food trucks invited on a regular basis, patrons won’t go hungry.
Schultz said Beer Week was an overall success and attributes the rise of local craft breweries to a general trend of retail buyers shopping local.
“Economy or not, I think people are into local,” Schultz said. “They want to see their dollars spent they want to see their dollars spent and stay in their communities. ... Traditionally microbrewers, craft breweries, are intertwined in the community.”
He said Four Peaks participates in fundraisers and other community events to hold that position.
He said the community aspects of local brewing breed a loyalty to the brand and specific flavors.
He also said local beer is fresher because it moves quickly from the breweries to retail locations.
“I think freshness and quality are a big part of it, too,” Schultz said.
Schultz said that although Four Peaks was on the ground floor of a rising market, one that is continually adding sharers as breweries spring up around the East Valley — notably SanTan Brewing Company in Chandler, Sleepy Dog in Tempe and Desert Eagle in Mesa — it looks at its competitors as fellow craft beer enthusiests, advocates and colleagues who socialize and trade tips on brewing.
“We don’t consider each other competition ... it’s the farthest thing from the truth for us,” Schultz said. “We consider the other brewers our friends — our equals.”
The Four Peaks tasting room at the new production site is open daily from 2 p.m. to 10 p.m., with a different food truck boasted every night on site. For more information, visit www.fourpeaks.com/blog.