Uinta enters small batch craft market even as they go big.
Will Hamill’s ruddy face and cheerful demeanor give him the appearance that he just got off the slopes from a great powder day at Snowbird. Will started Uinta Brewing Company in 1993 as Utah’s second full fledged brewery. The first that wasn’t a brewpub.
Uinta’s first beer was called Cutthroat, after our state fish. And still today Cutthroat is the top selling Utah microbrewed beer. Hamill developed the recipe for their flagship brand when he was still a home-brewer with aspirations to one day start his own brewery.
When Hamill was at the state office applying for his new brewery, The Great Basin Brewing Company, he found that a fellow Salt Lake resident had just beaten him to the rights to use that name. That somebody was Del Vance.
Rather than “pack heat or pick a fight” Hamill invited Vance out for a beer. It turned out they had complimenting capabilities so rather than compete, they decided to partner. Right off the bat they found they had a winner. They expected to sell 2,500 barrels of beer their first year in operation, they sold 7,000 and were unable to meet the demand.
Vance later allowed Hamill to buy him out and after that time, in 2001 Hamill built a huge facility expanding their operational capacity from 15,000 barrels per year to today over 35,000 barrels per year.
While Uinta has become the largest by volume brewery in Utah, Hamil has launched a new brewery and line of oak barrel aged beers called “Crooked”. Beer served in champagne bottles and cork finished. Crooked beers target beer aficionados, wine drinkers and the growing number of consumers who are seeking high-point beers. So far sales are exceeding expectations on their new line.
What is Uinta’s niche in Utah’s craft beer market?
Uinta is proud to be a Utah beer company. From paying tribute to an indigenous species of trout, to honoring Utah’s highest mountain peak, our packaging graphics and beer names embrace and celebrate our state. Supporting the local community and
building partnerships within Utah is a large part of what Uinta is all about. To that end, our Crooked Line specifically uses the artwork commissioned from local artists. We continue to search for new ways to integrate Utah’s unique persona into our brand and beer qualities.
Who were your artists for your Crooked labels?
For the first four releases, Leia Belle, Travis Bone, and Trent Call gave their own creative interpretations of the beer names by designing the label-art. While all of the beers belong to the Crooked Line family, each beer embraces its own unique identity
AWARD Winning Beers
Cutthroat Pale Ale
Silver Medal – Australian Beer Awards, packaged ale category
Bronze Medal – North American Brewers Association Awards, ordinary bitter category
Bronze Medal – World Beer Cup, Ordinary Bitter category
Bronze Medal – European Beer Star Awards, English-Style Bitter category
Anglers Pale Ale
Bronze Medal – North American Brewers Association Awards, Best Bitter category
Gold Medal – Australian International Beer Awards, Packaged Ale category
Anniversary Barley Wine
Silver Medal – Australian International Beer Awards, Scotch and Barley Wine category
Kings Peak Porter
Silver Medal- World Beer Championships, Flavored Beer category
Wyld Organic Extra Pale Ale
Silver Medal- World Beer Championships, Organic Beer category
Cockeyed Cooper Bourbon Barrel Barley Wine
Bronze Medal, North American Brewers Association Awards, Wood Flavored Beer category
Labyrinth Black Ale
Gold Medal- North American Brewers Association Awards, Imperial Stout category
Bronze medal- Stockholm Beer and Whisky Festival, Lager over 6% category