“We don’t own the name Epic, but we do own the name Epic Brewing,” said co-founder David Cole when asked how he was able to acquire such a great name for the newest brewery in Salt Lake City.
“Epic” is the well known adjective to describe the perfect powder day. That a late comer to the craft brew industry now appears to have dibs on “Epic Brewery” is quite a feat in itself.
To see that a couple of former brine shrimp aquaculturists then suppliers of larval feed— have begun such a promising new brewery in Utah is also remarkable. According to local bars Epic is already selling out.
“We are completely sold out of six of their beers. We can’t get any more because even Epic doesn’t have more Epic right now,” said Beerhive owner Del Vance.
Epic founders David Cole and Peter Erickson (left and right respectively with Head Brewer Kevin Crompton (middle)
The incredible demand for Epic has exceeded founder David Cole’s expectations. “We already have more tanks on order; they should arrive in the next few weeks.” While Cole and Erickson’s investment was significant they decided to start by producing very small batches. Most of Epics brewing tanks have just a 5— 10 barrel fermenters and one 20 barrel capacity. But Cole believes that the quality they are achieving just can’t be done in large quantities.
Besides small batches, the former brine shrimpers realize the importance of quality ingredients and reducing the number of variables in the operations.
Cole explains by pointing out one of their large investments into a state-of-the-art water filtration system: “The only way you can achieve a really consistent great lager is to have very clean water.” Every drop of our lager water is purified through carbon filters and a reverse osmosis process which deionizes the water. “It’s the tradition of very clean alpine waters that creates the lagers we know… Since water is the main ingredient, we realized this was a very important investment.”
Epic’s stouts use only partially purified water and the rest is brew with the water with the natural minerals Utah’s hard water is known for.
Besides this brewer Kevin Crompton says, “we don’t concoct anything” for filtering their mash. Instead they use step infusion, which allows them to maintain tighter control over the mash and forecast the specific gravity of the beer to a much greater degree. Removing these variables, according to Epic Brewer Kevin Crompton, offers them the ability to produce such a great variety of complex beers. “This is how we already have nine beers and plans for six more varieties in the coming months.”
Epic’s business model is unlike any other brewery in Utah and would have never been possible had it not been for the passage of the law in 2008 which enabled mircrobreweries, distilleries and wine makers to sell their own products. It was when this law passed that Dave and Peter realized that it might be an excellent time to start working towards getting out of shrimp and into beer.
Epic is producing very small batches of very high quality beer for around four bucks a bottle. Nothing is on draft because everything they produce is “high point” beer. Epic beers are available in Beerhive, Bayou, Poplar Street Pub and many more to come. They also do a lot of business directly to customers out of their 825 South State retail/ brewing facility.
Epic has just been awarded two medals at the Idaho Mountain Brewers Beer Fest. One gold for Brainless Belgian Golden Ale; and a bronze medal for their Intermountain Wheat Beer. Epic also medaled at the San Diego International Beer Festival.