Pinedale Brewery Expands To Evanston After Municipal Roadblocks

Apr 26, 2016

The Roundhouse building in Evanston.
Credit TAMRA WATTS

Pinedale’s Wind River Brewing Company will be opening a new brewing facility and restaurant at the Roundhouse in Evanston. This comes after the company fought for years to build that facility in Pinedale.

Wind River Brewing owners Tamra and Shawn Watts have lived in Pinedale all their lives. The couple wanted to build their new brewery and tasting room there, but Pinedale’s mayor halted the expansion when he stopped the city from changing some zoning rules. So, they’re building it away from their hometown—150 miles South to Evanston.

Built in the early 1900s, the Roundhouse building in Evanston was originally used by the Union Pacific Railroad. It will soon be renovated to house the Wind River Brewing Company’s expansion, thanks to a “community readiness” grant from the State Loan and Investment Board. Tamra Watts says the building is one of a kind.

“There’s probably not a cooler place in the United States for a brewery. And this building really needs saving for many reasons, much more than just our brewing operations. It needs saving for the state of Wyoming and for its national treasure.”

When the expansion plans faded in Pinedale, fourteen different communities reached out to the Watts with proposals to do the project in their area. Watts says they chose Evanston for a number of reasons.

“We looked at everywhere and when we went to Evanston, the people were great, the city officials were great, the people that we were working with were awesome. But when we walked into the historic roundhouse, it’s just amazing, and we just said ‘wow, this is it.’”

Watts says construction will be underway as soon as the end of June and will bring over a hundred jobs to the town of Evanston within the first three years of completion.