High Sierra Brewing Company closing March 29

High Sierra brewpub, last Carson City brewery

High Sierra Brewery

Last beer I had at High Sierra Brewery.

High Sierra Brewing Co., Carson City’s only brewery, will be closing its doors by the end of the month unless owner Jim Phalan can secure considerable investment money before March 29, according to a Facebook post by the brewery and an article in the Nevada Appeal. If HSB closes, that would leave Carson City without any locally produced craft beer or liquor.

The lease for the 11,000-square-foot restaurant space is too expensive for the current volume of customers. Phalan described business as good, but not good enough. 

In most brewpub businesses, on site draft and off site keg sales pay for the brewhouse production and overhead while the dining customers support the rest of the business. Restaurant profit margins tend to be small, so it’s important for the dining room to be full of customers every day and it’s even better if all of them drink a few pints. Phalan recently expressed frustration in his Facebook status about the volume of customers in the restaurant, which may help explain some of the issues the brewpub faced leading up to this decision.

Phalan is seeking investors to provide an infusion of cash so the High Sierra Brewing brand may continue production of draft beer and possibly build a bottling facility to enter the bottled beer market. The Nevada Appeal reports that Phalan is looking for more than $250K from an equal-partner investor while Phalan’s Facebook status on Feb. 26 discussed other investing models that could total up to $1M.

“We hate to sound desperate, and have tried to avoid this,” they wrote on Facebook. “If anyone is interested, please contact us at the brewery at 775-884-2739 or contact@highsierrabrewco.com.”

Phalan took over the restaurant in Dec. 2010 and remodeled it, dumping the nightclub theme from previous Doppelgängers and turning the place into a legitimate brewpub (The Nevada Appeal wrote a full story on Phalan’s new venture in Jan. 2011).

Since then, Phalan boasts these facts about the brand:

  • 38 percent or more increase in distributed beer sales year over year
  • January through February 2014 had an 80 percent increase in distribution over 2013
  • Current National contracts in hand with Costco, Trader Joe’s, Raleys and Total Wine and More
  • Gold Medal Winner at the Great American Beer Festival® for Buzzed Bee Honey Ale
  • Draft beer accounts in more than 150 locations including Vail Resorts in Lake Tahoe
  • Las Vegas, Phoenix and Sacramento markets waiting for distribution.

Here’s the full Facebook post:



For those of you still craving the High Sierra taste, find it while you still can with their handy-dandy distribution map.

The following two tabs change content below.

Mike Higdon

Editor & Publisher at Drinkable Reno
Mike Higdon is a journalist passionate about beer and cocktails. He started the site because no one else covered Reno's growing craft scene at the level of detail required to stay in the know about all things drinkable in Reno.