Everything we are today started with one simple goal in 1990: to provide Lincoln with the best food and beer in Nebraska. The original Lazlo’s Brewery & Grill in Lincoln’s Historic Haymarket started with delicious, uncompromising food. Shortly after, it quickly evolved into a brewery dedicated to meticulously crafting unforgettable microbrews that beer enthusiasts and novices alike enjoyed savoring. Thus, Empyrean Brewing Co.® was born.
Ancient civilizations believed paradise existed at the highest point in the universe, within a fiery sphere they called “The Empyrean.” Inspired by this sentiment, we set out to infuse every batch of our handcrafted ales with our unique notion of paradise—take a journey with us, one sip at a time. Together, we Pursue The Brew®.
- 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.
The Keg is Tapped
- With the grand opening of Lazlo’s Brewery & Grill at 710 P St. on March 20, 1991, Lazlo’s is the first Nebraska brewpub. Approximately 500 barrels (15,500 gallons) of Lazlo’s beer are sold.
- Construction begins on a new fermentation cellar in the adjacent Coffee & Spice Building at 729 Q St.
- Empyrean Brewing Co.® becomes a separate financial entity from Lazlo’s Brewery & Grill. K & Z Distributing of Lincoln, and Miller Brands of Omaha begin distributing Empyrean beer.
- The brewery’s capacity is increased to 2,500 barrels (77,500 gallons) a year. Empyrean has 70 draft accounts in Omaha and Lincoln, and bottling planning begins.
Message in A Bottle
- Empyrean begins bottling in February becoming the first craft brewery in Nebraska to bottle beer. Third Stone Brown®, LunaSea ESB, and Chaco Canyon Gold® appear on store shelves.
Two is Better Than One
- Capacity is increased again as Lazlo’s opens a second location in South Lincoln. Planning begins for a new brewhouse to handle the increasing amounts of orders.
A Legend Is Born
- The new brewhouse begins operation. Empyrean is now the largest brewery in Nebraska. Dark Side Vanilla Porter® is created.
We Get Around
- Empyrean is the first Nebraska brewery to distribute statewide. Burning Skye Scottish Ale is created. FireWorks Restaurant is opened adjacent to the brewery.
- Ground is broken in West Omaha for a new Lazlo’s location. Empyrean sets a new sales record of 3,200 barrels (100,000 gallons).
- Sales growth continues at a healthy pace. Luna Sea 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.
- Empyrean partners with additional distributors allowing our craft beers to be sold at liquor stores, convenience stores, and grocery stores in Iowa and North and South Dakota.
A Reason for a Season
- Empyrean adds seasonal selections to their bottling lineup, starting with Super Nova™ Summer Fest.
All Four One, Four for all
- Empyrean began bottling the Carpe Brewem series, brewed in small batches for limited distribution in 4-packs.
12-Pack of Paradise
- Empyrean adds a variety 12-pack to its portfolio called Empyrean Universe and now called The Divine Dozen.
A Shortcut to Flavor
- Old Chicago requested a special brew for a tasting event and head brewer, Rich Chapin, created Long Route Peanut Butter Porter. An instant favorite.
- Our most popular Carpe Brewem—Imperial Mango IPA—becomes a year-round offering with a fresh look, new package format, improved recipe (just 6 carbs), and new name: Mind Over Mango IPA®.
- Historic preservation credits are secured and ground is broken for a new state-of-the-art brewery and taproom in the South Haymarket area of Lincoln.
- Long Route Peanut Butter Porter wins Untappd’s 9 Highest-Rated American & English Porters.
CAN You Feel It
- Introduction of cans to beer offerings. Now easier to recycle and more portable than ever.
Welcome to the Windy City
- Expanded into new markets, including Chicago. Empyrean is now offering beers in 9 states.
New look, New Feel
- With new cans, new packaging was commenced. Redesigns of all beer labels completed.
- A trailblazing spirit continues to burn as we forge new journeys. Stay in touch to see where we go next.