New growth from old roots — Moscow Brewing Company grand reopening marks a continuation of a rich Moscow brewing history

The Moscow Brewing Company, a pioneer in Moscow’s beer scene in 2013, had its grand reopening June 17.

The brewery closed last year when the owner Lucas Rate moved out of the area with his family, but opened its doors again in March.

“We’re excited to be reopened and we would love it if people have been patrons in the past to come back and check us out,” said Leah Hart, one of the three new owners. “And for anyone who maybe didn’t know about Moscow Brewing Company before, to come on in and we would love to pour them a pint and get to know them a little better.”

Andy Severson, another owner, said though the business doesn’t yet offer much to eat, they frequently partner with food trucks like Duke’s Place.

Dogs are also welcome in the brewery’s patio area.

Severson said other than a few “meaningful changes” the business is not much different. Minor changes have included adding more windows, making seating more accessible and bringing in new equipment. He said some of that equipment cans the beer, making what is called a “crowler.” This allows the craft beer to be transported like beers bought in stores.

“It’s the only one in the area, so we’re pretty excited about that,” Severson said.

He said it has been fun to see pictures people take of the Moscow Brewing crowlers as they go on summer adventures.

Leah said the biggest changes made are to the recipes, which she and the other owners have been developing for the past five to eight years.

“All in all we wanted to keep the spirit of the business the same,” Leah said.

The brewery draws on a heritage of resiliency that began in 1882 with the first Moscow Brewery, a business that survived many setbacks before closing in 1908, according to the company’s website. Severson said when the current company opened in 2013, it was again the only brewery in town.

“We kind of like to hearken back to the original Moscow Brewing Company as the start of what we’re trying to now carry on in Moscow,” he said.

Like the brewery, the new owners have strong ties to the area. Severson said he, along with Leah and Aaron Hart, grew up just a few hours away, and all went to college less than an hour away from what is now their business.

Under their ownership, the company has become a family business.

“Having it be a family-run business, we’re all on the same page, we have the same goals and I think it’s one of the things that made us successful so far, and that will continue to make us successful in the future,” Leah said.

Although Severson and Leah’s parents aren’t brewers themselves, they still help out and enjoy the beer their children make, Leah said.

“(Dad) made us tables and chairs from reclaimed wood,” she said.

Severson said all three of them retained their “daytime jobs,” but still work at the brewery every day. He said he manages the Stax restaurant chain, Leah is a registered dietician and Aaron works at Mary Jane Farms.

Leah said though doing both jobs can be exhausting, they are different enough from each other that she can stay energized.

“Brewing is kind of a combination of science and artistic creativity,” she said.

Leah said she, Severson and Aaron had wanted to open a brewery from scratch for a long time, but when Moscow Brewing came up for sale, they decided to seize the opportunity.

“It definitely wasn’t our original plan to take over an existing brewery, but now we all think it was the best plan for us,” she said.

Severson said, for now, the plan is to make the best beer they can for people in the area.

“We like to be the Moscow home-town brewery where people come for great beer and for great conversation about beer,” he said.

Nina Rydalch can be reached at arg-news@uidaho.edu or on Twitter @NinaRo


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