Helio Basin Brewing Company, which has occupied a brewery and restaurant space at 40th Street and Thomas Road for four years, is closing.
The space will be immediately taken over by another beloved Arizona beer operation, Tombstone Brewing Company, this week.
Helio made the announcement via social media on Monday night. The brewery has been doing takeout food, beer and bottled cocktails to go, and even community stuff like school lunches. But COVID is a force.
“In the end it was clear that with no definitive answer on when things would return to ‘normal’ that it would involve taking on a lot of debt for an unknown amount of time,’’ reads a post on the brewery's page.
For Tombstone, this will be its second brewery location — the original's in the Town Too Tough to Die — and the doors will swing open for onsite consumption this Friday, October 16. According to primary owner Matt Brown, the interior will look like Helio, and will most likely stay that way, though expect some more Tombstone trimmings over time.
“It’s a beautiful brewery and comfortable restaurant,” Brown says. “I think it’s just going to be little tweaks.”
“Being able to walk into a turnkey brewery like this, the luck was just crazy," he adds. "I should buy a lottery ticket.”
The Tombstone team is also hoping to keep on 100 percent of the Helio staff. “Anyone who wanted to stay and have a job got a job,” Brown says.
The Tombstone team is also in the process of building a large brewery in Sierra Vista. That one would have been the second location, had Helio owners Mike Conley and Dustin Hazer not reached out, offering the Phoenix space. The Sierra Vista spot, which will be the third site, is slated to open sometime in spring 2021.
By Friday, Brown says there will be 12 Tombstone beers on tap, including some special kegs with barley wine aged in Jamaican barrels, a Mexican hot chocolate stout, a couple of pilsners, and all the popular varieties of Tombstone’s IPAs.
They plan to start brewing on site this weekend, making the beer available here half brewed in Tombstone, half brewed in Phoenix — and the same will now go for the original location. In the future, Tombstone hopes to bring back signature events like its Oktoberfest (don’t worry, that beer will be available this Friday) and the Rib Showdown. Brown says they’re excited to see the Phoenix customers, a major percentage of their market, in person.
And how does Brown see the Phoenix spot differing from the Tombstone brewery?
“I’m expecting there will be less people in period costumes,” he says. “Less people riding horses to the bar.”
Keep Phoenix New Times Free... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Phoenix with no paywalls.