Welcome to Phoenix’s own craft brewery!
The late Greg “Fretzy” Fretz and George Hancock started to talk about opening a brewery in Phoenix as far back as 2009. After selling Pyramid Breweries in Seattle, George was both anxious to start afresh in an industry he loved dearly, and after 25 years in the Pacific Northwest needed some sun in his life. Fretzy persuaded George to come and take a look at Phoenix for a possible brewery location. After many frustrating months of searching for the right building and location, and several false starts, they found an empty warehouse situated on an acre of land just north of Skyharbor Airport for the brewery to call home.
It wasn’t love at first sight – Fretzy was the first to see it, and he wasn’t impressed by the huge billboard looming over it and the fact that he had to move a homeless guy from the door-well to get access. However, when they started taking a closer look, it turned out to be almost perfect for a craft brewery – high ceilings provided headspace for large fermentation tanks, there was a large yard for storage and access to the shipping dock, close proximity to freeways and even a large retail area with ample parking which would take little work to turn into the Taproom. Also the light rail ran past the front door – it didn’t stop for 6 blocks, but at least a lot of people would see the brewery every day. The pair took a lease on the building on January 1, 2011 and started brewing their signature Camelback IPA just over five months later.
So it was that in June 2011, after years of selling beers from breweries in other states, Fretzy realized his long-time dream of opening a brewery in Phoenix and George returned to the industry he loved dearly.
Sadly both Fretzy and George passed away well before their time. However the dream and vision lives on through the current team and brew staff. We all invite you to come and visit the brewery that they worked so hard to build and enjoy one of the many delicious locally brewed beers on tap.
Cheers to Fretzy and George!
-Phoenix Ale Team