ICYMI: Craft Brewing Business turned 10 this year, and we are celebrating our 10th anniversary with craft breweries that also launched in 2013. In Cheers to 10 Years, we’ll learn how these brewing businesses have made it work for a decade, and how they plan to keep it going. Cheers to 10 Years!
Huss Brewing Co. is a staple in Arizona’s craft beer scene — celebrating its 10-year anniversary this year with an awesome promotion (that we’ll get to). But the success of Huss in craft beer predates its launch.
Husband-and-wife, Jeff and Leah Huss, have 33 years of combined experience in the brewing industry.
Jeff was Head Brewer for BJ’s Brewing in Chandler, Ariz., for seven years and attended the Siebel Institute in Chicago, then the Doemens Academy in Munich, Germany. Leah co-owned and operated Papago Brewing in Scottsdale, Ariz., for 14 years, helping pioneer the craft beer community and growth in Arizona.
“In 2001, I helped open and ran Arizona’s first Craft Beer Bar and Bottle Shop called Papago Brewing Co. in Scottsdale,’ Leah tells us. “We helped pioneer the craft beer community. I met my husband when he came to Arizona to be a brewer for BJ’s. When we found out we were having our daughter we started making a plan to open our own brewery.”
What’s changed over the last 10 years?
Huss Brewing Co. first opened its doors in South Tempe in August of 2013, with a 30-barrel system, a small tasting room with 20 taps, and room for growth. Huss Brewing is now so much more, encompassing several locations and even several brands.
“So much has changed in 10 years,” Leah says. “We went from the two of us and a couple of bartenders to four locations and over 100 employees. I am able to work from anywhere essentially, so it has been the biggest change for me. It has been amazing for me to be more available to parent and be there for our daughter.
Key turning point?
In 2016, the Huss team returned to their roots, acquiring the Papago Brewing Company in Scottsdale from Leah’s former business partners, eventually creating the “Huss Family of Beers” and transforming Huss into the 3rd largest brewer in the state. The Huss Family of Beers includes brands Huss Brewing Co., Papago Brewing Co., and Arizona Light.
“We were already brewing the beers and managing the brands but we able to expand the lineup and strengthen our portfolio overall,” she says.
Other big moments include opening three more locations.
“Each one is different with a different vibe that suits the neighborhood,” she says.
How are we celebrating?
Huss is celebrating its 10 years with a CBB office favorite: a Willy Wonka-style giveaway gimmick. Felt like a great way to thank locals for their support over the past decade.
Huss has created eight golden tickets that will be placed in 6-pack and 12-packs of Scottsdale Blonde and Papago Orange Blossom in retailers throughout the Valley. The Huss’ 10 year giveaway promotion will run from August 11 – October 1. Anyone who finds a golden can and ticket in that window will win a peek inside the brewing factory, including a tour from founders Jeff and Leah Huss, beer for a year and Huss swag.
Two lucky winners will also be chosen via scan to win opportunities in local restaurants, the Huss Brewing taprooms, including Downtown Phoenix, Uptown Phoenix and the flagship location in Tempe, along with Papago Brewing Co. in Mesa.
Any changes to prep for the next 10?
“I thrive on change; it is the only constant,” Leah says. “It is something that others at Huss have to reign me in from because I am such a proponent.”
Example: The Huss team has put an entire new system of department heads in place for every division of Huss this year, including hiring a Director of Restaurant Operations.
“I think fresh eyes on things is always good. Someone once told me that no one was ever going to know what something was supposed to be, just how it is. This has been my motto in our 10th year. I want people taking chances and making us a different company moving into the future. I am beyond proud of our Family First policy. I am proud of how we have built something that people want to be a part of. A place where they can work with a high quality of life, excellent quality product and family atmosphere. I am giddy at what the next 10yrs has in store for us!”
Cheers to 10 years! If your brewery is turning 10 and wants to cheers, drop me a line at [email protected]. Tell me your story …
• What’s changed over the last 10 years?
• Key turning points or decisions to note?
• Are you making any changes to prep for the next 10?
Here are some more Cheers to 10 Years features: