HENDERSON, Nev. (KTNV) — If you don't like the law, you can always try to change it. That's exactly what the owners of a Henderson brewery did, and their move opened the door for others to follow.
The taproom inside CraftHaus Brewery is a beer-lover's dream, and it's also the dream of husband-and-wife team Dave and Wyndee Forest. They're serving up all kinds of suds. Wyndee showed anchor Todd Quinones their selection: a Czech pilsner, "Hop Vegas," a guava-fruited sour, and their most popular label: the Silver State blonde ale.
"Talk about Nevada Built and Nevada Pride — it says so right here on the can," Quinones said. "Yeah, that was the whole idea behind it," Dave said.
"That's also the Sunrise Mountains," Wyndee said. "So when you turn the can around, it's actually an image of our local mountains," Dave added.
Their brewery, located near Warm Springs Road and U.S. 95 in Henderson, opened in 2014.
"You guys had to do a lot to make this happen, including changing the laws here in Henderson. What did you change?" Quinones asked.
"Before we opened, the license that would apply to our business model was $60,000 and automatically came with a gaming license," Wyndee said.
So, for more than a year, Wyndee Forest lobbied the city for change.
"We were able to reduce the license from $60,000 to $10,000 and then we removed the gaming portion of it," she said.
The Forests didn't want or need a gaming license — they wanted to open a brewery. Wyndee petitioned the city to allow for breweries like CraftHaus to open at a lesser cost, sans gaming license.
"Since the licensing was changed, I think there's another five breweries in Henderson that have opened up," she said.
Today, CraftHaus produces some 45,000 gallons of beer a year, some of it barrel-aged.
"The flavor from these bourbon barrels, you think, definitely bleeds over into the beer. That's kind of the secret sauce for you guys," Quinones said.
"Absolutely. It gives it a little more complexity than, say, traditional, non-barrel-aged beers are," Wyndee said.
They've also developed a coffee stout made with beans from Vesta Coffee Roasters in Las Vegas. For the Forests, the MO is supporting the community.
"We need the community to thrive as a business owner. But it's also important that we support the community," Dave said.
Right now, CraftHaus beers are being distributed in Southern and Northern Nevada with plans on expanding into Arizona next year. In the meantime, these UNLV grads will keep dreaming up new flavors.
"It seems like every beer is a combination of art and science. And then, of course, enjoyment at the end of it, right?" Quinones asked.
"Yeah. I mean, beer is art, it's just in liquid form," Wyndee said.