Safe Haven Brewery is currently under construction at Roosevelt and Fourth streets — specifically, 915 North Fourth Street — in downtown Phoenix. Formerly retail space, this 5,000-square-foot spot will soon be a seven-barrel craft brewery overseen by Gus Fowler and his dad, Rykert Fowler. The former Fowler is an experienced beer man, having worked at The Shop Beer Co. in Tempe, as well as Pedal Haus and downtown Chandler’s SanTan Brewing. We recently caught up with this veteran Valley brewer.
Phoenix New Times: Did plans for Safe Haven Brewery begin before the pandemic?
Gus Fowler: Safe Haven Brewery did start before the pandemic. We have been working on this from dream-state to where we are now for five years. We had a lot to learn before we got here. The pandemic is just one of many adversities we have faced, and I am sure it won't be the last.
Why Roosevelt Row?
GF: We really love the area. We feel it suits who we are. We love Arizona, art, sustainability, community, and sharing. The area has really grown into its own and we are very excited to be a part of the community. We are excited to add to a downtown beer scene that has quickly become a hub for craft beer in Phoenix. I personally am born and raised here so I am so happy to bring our beer to Phoenix and all of Arizona. I could go on forever about my feelings about the area and representing Phoenix, but we are really looking forward to being on Roosevelt Row.
Does Rykert have experience with brewing as well?
GF: Rykert does not have experience in brewing except for home brewing with me. He does, however, have experience in medical manufacturing, sales, and financial consulting. His experience in these other fields really brings us another added edge. Craft beer is what brought us together as a father and son. We hope to be able to provide that experience to everyone who comes in the door.
Will the microbrewery be onsite?
GF: The brewery will be onsite. We spent a long time trying to find the right building for us. We got very lucky finding a building in the area that suited all our needs. Ceiling height was a big issue as well as finding a space large enough to hold the brewhouse, dry storage, taproom, etc.
Will the brewery be sustainably focused?
GF: Sustainability is a huge focus of ours. I studied sustainability in college, and we are all very passionate about leaving as little footprint as we possibly can. We can't do everything we want right off the bat, unfortunately. The things we plan to start with are sending our spent grain to local farms, steam reclamation, and greywater reuse. If we can afford it, we want to start with solar panels as well and then add more to eventually become fully self-powered. As we grow, we continually do more to become as sustainable as possible.
Has the pandemic affected the opening?
GF: Oddly enough it hasn't affected our opening in the sense of timing. We have had to rethink how to best handle the ever-changing environment. How indoor service will work, focusing more on packaged beer to go, how to protect our guests and employees in the best way possible. These are all things we have had to adjust. It's not just opening a brewery and asking everyone to come in anymore.
Is the opening still slated for early 2021?
GF: Our goal is to have the doors open by spring 2021. However, we do understand the uncertainty of opening a new business especially now. It may be at a later date.
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