JACKSON, Wyo.—Whether you’re a tourist sipping on an iconic Pako’s at the Cowboy or a member of their mug club, Snake River Brewing has a loyal following near and far. Taking home gold for the Best Brewery yet again in this year’s Best of Jackson Hole, the twenty-five-year-old brewery excels in offering space for all.
From open to close, the Snake River Brewing taproom has customers. Be it a group of tourists enjoying lunch and beer outside or the regulars bellied up to the bar, there’s always someone enjoying one of their award-winning beers. It’s hard to say whether the beer, the people, the atmosphere, or its longevity in an otherwise transient and transformative town pulls such loyalty. Nevertheless, there is a reason it is known as “Jackson Hole’s living room”.
And it’s not only the local customers who are so dedicated to the brewery. Sales Director Luke Bauer is now in his third round of employment with SRB, beginning fifteen years ago. For him, winning Best of Jackson Hole is a testament to the quality of their product and environment.
“We have a very high-dollar clientele that comes through this town, and our locals are pretty demanding,” says Bauer in an interview with Buckrail. “The fact that we’ve been around for twenty-five years and consistently win in some capacity year after year is really important because it’s not just that we’re the best here, it’s that we’re the best in a place that is the best.” According to Bauer, most breweries close after five-to-eight years, so SRB’s standing says it all.
For as much community loyalty and commitment, there is towards the brewery, SRB strives to give as much back in as many ways as possible. “Having a comfortable vibe and being very accommodating to our locals is crucial,” says Bauer. “We also give away roughly $100,000 per year to local nonprofits and strive to support different community initiatives.” Some of these include Friends of Pathways, the Center for the Arts, Jackson Hole Live, and Moose Hockey.
SRB is also working to better the greater Teton Valley. For the next three years, a certain portion of case sales for the Snake River Pale Ale will go towards the Grand Teton Foundation’s Snake River Fund. These proceeds go towards rebuilding boat launches and landings as well as restroom facilities and vegetation mitigation. Similarly, their Hefeweizen will be benefiting the Greater Yellowstone Coalition for the next three years to put bear boxes into camp grounds and for other efforts in mitigating human and animal interactions.
As for Bauer’s favorite local business (other than SBR of course) he chose Hoff’s Bikesmith. Throughout his life, Bauer has been a bike messenger, done self-supported cycle tours, and mountain biking. “There’s a huge spectrum with bikes,” he says, “there’s the type of shop you go to as a nineteen-year-old punk-rock kid riding around town really fast trying to be cool; the shop you need to go to with a serious problem with your drive train that’s hauling eighty-five pounds of gear; and the shop that deals with your day to day adjustments on your mountain bike. I feel very comfortable with Hoff’s being all of those things easily.”