History

Our Story

It began with a dream that we could brew full-flavored beer in the great state of Nebraska. In late 1990, that dream became our state’s first brewpub, Lazlo’s Brewery & Grill. Since then demand for our beer has grown, so we expanded our pub and Empyrean Brewing Company was born. Today we still dream big, even while we handcraft our beers in small, flavor–filled batches. So enjoy an Empyrean beer— the taste of dreams come true.

1990

Lazlo’s Brewery & Grill is founded. Rich Chapin is chosen as Head Brewer and begins converting his award-winning home-brew recipes for the pub.

1991

With the grand opening of Lazlo’s Brewery & Grill at 710 P St. on March 20, Lazlo’s is the first brewpub to open in Nebraska. Approximately 500 barrels (15,500 gallons) of Lazlo’s beer is sold.

1996

Construction begins on a new fermentation cellar in the adjacent Coffee & Spice Building at 729 Q St.

1997

Empyrean Brewing Co. becomes a separate finanacial entity from Lazlo’s Brewery & Grill. K & Z Distributing of Lincoln and Miller Brands of Omaha begin distributing Empyrean beer.

1998

The brewery’s capacity is increased to 2,500 barrels (77,500 gallons) a year. Empyrean has 70 draft accounts in Omaha and Lincoln. Planning for bottling begins.

1999

In February, Empyrean begins bottling, becoming the first Nebraska-craft brewery to bottle beer. Third Stone Brown, LunaSea ESB and Chaco Canyon appear on store shelves.

2000

Capacity is increased again as Lazlo’s opens a second location in South Lincoln. Planning begins for a new brewhouse to increase capacity.

2001

The new brewhouse begins operation. Empyrean is now the largest brewery in Nebraska. Dark Side Vanilla Porter is created.

2002

Empyrean is the first Nebraska brewer to distribute statewide. Burning Skye Scottish Ale is created. FireWorks Restaurant is opened adjacent to the brewery.

2003

Empyrean continues to grow throughout Nebraska, reaching west to Scottsbluff, north to Norfolk, east to Omaha and south to Beatrice.

2004

Empyrean sells 2,850 barrels (88,350 gallons) of beer and has four brands among the top 20 best-selling craft beer brands in the state.

2005

Ground is broken in Fremont and West Omaha for two new Lazlo’s locations. Empyrean sets a new sales record of 3,200 barrels (100,000 gallons).

2006

Sales growth continues at a healthy pace. LunaSea ESB wins a silver medal in the Extra Special Bitter category at the 2006 World Beer Cup. Lazlo’s Brewery & Grill opens locations in Omaha.

2009-2010

Empyrean partners with additional distributors allowing our brands to be sold at liquor stores, convenience stores and grocery stores in Iowa, and North and South Dakota.

2010

Empyrean adds seasonal selections to their bottling lineup, starting with Super Nova Summer Fest.

2011

Empyrean adds Watch Man IPA to their year-round bottling lineup. Expansion on distribution outreach continues through the midwest.

2013

Began bottling the Carpe Brewem series—brewed in small batches for limited distribution in 4-packs. Each Carpe Brewem contains unique, expensive or exotic ingredients, and many are barrel aged for added awesomeness.

2014

Empyrean adds a mixed/variety 12-pack to its portfolio, called Empyrean Universe.

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