Brewer

Photo By DENNIS MYERS

Bonda Young is co-owner of the Great Basin Brewing Company, which this week opens its third facility, Great Basin Taps & Tanks, located on East McCarran Boulevard between Rock Boulevard and Mira Loma Drive.

Is No. 3 going to be any different than No. 2 and No. 1?

It will be different, in that it’s a production facility. We won’t be serving food over there—no restaurant.

This [No. 1] is a production facility, too, right?

Well, it’s a production facility with a restaurant attached, which makes it a brew pub. That’s the definition of a brew pub. … Our third location is strictly a production facility with a tap room, so people can come in and taste the beers, have pints of beer, that sort of thing, but it’s mainly to produce more beer.

Are there things you’ll be able to do there that you can’t do here?

We’re hoping to do a lot more bottling. We’re planning on increasing our production by 50 percent, which turns in to a lot more bottles out there on the market.

Now that you’re a chain, is there a danger that you’ll become corporate and impersonal?

[Laughs] You know what, we’re not a chain. We’re never going to be a chain. Three does not make a chain. We still believe in small batches of beer. We are very tiny compared to a lot of the breweries. I don’t like that word “chain.” We really want to continue to focus on the community and what people want from us as far as beer and quality beer and quality food.

Will there be music at the new one?

We have had some concerts over there already. It’s kind of a nice concert venue. I don’t know if we’re going to continue to do that or not because our plans are that we will not have space to do that any more. When we took over the facility it still had space, as far as floor space goes, and it made for a nice venue for some concerts but this time next year that empty space is going to be filled with more tanks, bottling machines, that sort of thing, so we’re going to use up the space.

Will it be the same brews?

Same beers being produced there. Quantity-wise, of course, the tanks over there are much, much larger and we will be brewing Icky over there, and we’ll be brewing Wild Horse. We’ll be brewing our more popular beers because the tanks are so large. When we do brew the specialty beers, we don’t need to brew that much, so we’ll be sticking with our big sellers.

How much distribution do you do outside the restaurants?

I can’t tell you the exact number, but we’re in many, many outlets around northern Nevada.

What made you want to expand?

Demand. We expanded into the Reno location because we couldn’t keep up with the demand for beer here in Sparks and so when we opened Reno we thought, Oh, this’ll be good for quite a few years. To our surprise, we were out of beer in two years. We weren’t able to fill distributor orders. … So that means that we could have pulled our product from the shelves in all the places that our beer is in northern Nevada, but that’s sort of the direction that our business has taken and we wanted to continue fulfilling those orders. So we didn’t plan on doing it this quickly, but when the Buckbean facility became available, we thought, well, gee, you know, we should do that.

Do you foresee, maybe ten years down the road, you might get entirely into distribution and lose the restaurants?

I think we’ll always stay true to our roots. We really enjoy talking to people and being a part of the community and if we were strictly a brewery we wouldn’t have that human touch anymore—especially my husband [Tom Young]. He’s just really a people person and loves talking to people. Yes, I think we’d all miss the restaurant side of it.

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Dennis Myers
About Dennis Myers 1397 Articles
Dennis Myers was the news editor of the Reno News & Review. He was a journalist for more than four decades. In 1987-88 he was chief deputy secretary of state of Nevada. He was coauthor of Uniquely Nevada, a children’s history textbook, and a contributor to the books The Mythical West and Covering the Courts in Nevada. In September, 2020, he was inducted into the Nevada Newspaper Hall of Fame.