Brewing beers and brotherhood in Carson City
July 7, 2018
Brothers Jeff and Paul Young planned a soft opening of their brewery as a way to ease into the business before the official opening.
"That was not the case," Jeff recalled. "We soft-opened to numbers we didn't think we'd see on the grand opening. Paul was taking orders, and I was pumping beer as fast as I could. It feels like it's been that way ever since."
Opening its doors in March 2017, the Shoe Tree Brewing Co. has seen the business only grow in popularity and will soon double its capacity for making beer.
"It's the result of a perfect storm," Jeff said. "The first is the popularity of breweries right now. There's also the fact that we grew up here and have so many friends and family in Carson City, which helps get the word out. Mostly, it's the quality of our product. If you make something good, ideally people will seek it out."
The success has exceeded their wildest dreams — and the brothers spent many years dreaming wildly.
It all started in Jeff's garage. After Paul graduated from Carson High School in 2005 — nine years after Jeff did in 1996 — he moved in with Jeff while attending the University of Nevada, Reno.
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"There was such an age gap, I didn't have much of a relationship with him," Jeff said. "Our relationship happened when he got older, especially when he moved in with me and my family. That's when I got to know him."
As their relationship grew, so did their hobby of home brewing, and they started to see a future in it.
Paul, who until then had been taking core classes, focused on a business degree while working at the Mentor Center of Western Nevada. Jeff went to work at a brewery to learn the technical side of the operation.
When it came time to open their own, they chose their location wisely — next to a restaurant and hot springs.
"We knew Sassafras was out here, and they were doing good, and the Carson Hot Springs was busy. So we knew people were coming out," Paul said. "With the freeway being finished, it was easy for people to get here from Reno. All of these things added to our success."
The brewery typically has 10-13 beers available at any time.
"We probably have the most unique and diverse rail in Carson City," Jeff said. "We try to have something for everyone. We have everything from a light blond ale to a really dark stout and all the varieties in between."
They even have beer for non-beer drinkers.
"Our sour cherry has brought in a lot of wine drinkers," Jeff said. "It's got a little bit of a fruit flavor. It's tart."
They also accommodate those looking for something without alcohol with drinks like root beer, lavender lemonade or a sparkling Sunny Delight or Cherry Kool-Aid.
The true magic, however, is the chemistry between the brothers. Although they no longer live together, they said they work on a healthy relationship both personally and professionally.
"Part of it is making sure you don't get your feelings hurt when you speak your mind," Paul said. "You have to be willing to give ground if you need to — or stick to your guns if it's very important."
Shoe Tree Brewing Co. is located at 1496 Old Hot Springs Road, Carson City. For information call 775-222-0108.