What do you get when you start brewing in your garage with the help of your kids?
Well, fast forward over 30 years and you have the Goldwater Brewing Company.
That’s right, three decades of learning and mastering one of the oldest and most revered trades in history. Hopefully that can paint a picture of how far ahead Chad, Dillon, and Jimmy are on the curve, thanks to their dad, father-in-law, and lifelong brewing mentor Greg McClelland. Goldwater is the first brewery in Old Town Scottsdale to brew on site, which means you’re getting the freshest, tastiest version of the beer. When you have a brewery as young as Goldwater that possesses over 30 years of brewing experience, be prepared to witness, and taste, history. This brewery is truly one of a kind, considering all of the perfect pieces that were orchestrated by Greg McClelland to foster Goldwater Brewing. In order to create the beautiful beverage that we call craft beer, you must incorporate four main ingredients: water, barley, hops, and yeast. Mix and blend these ingredients and you’ve got yourself a delicious Goldwater brew, and most importantly, the symbolic concoction that is the brewery itself. If you take away just one of these key ingredients, the brew and its home will be forever incomplete. Which is where this story begins. Introducing the four main ingredients of Goldwater Brewing Company: Greg, Chad, Dillon, and Jimmy.
Let’s start with the visionary himself, Greg McClelland. Like many craft beer enthusiasts, Greg started brewing early in adulthood and has been an avid home-brewer ever since it was legal to do so here in the Grand Canyon State. Having started over 30 years ago, Greg likes to think he was home brewing good ales and lagers before it was the “cool” thing to do. Shortly before Greg started home brewing, he had married his wife Pam and soon added more members to the McClelland clan. With their three children now grown, everyone in the family has an integral part in the Goldwater business.
Greg and Pam both grew up in Scottsdale and had set out to start a microbrewery business twice here in Arizona, first in 1989 and again in 2000, but after assessing the timing and the market for true craft beer establishments, they decided that it was just not the right time to build. Fast forward to March 2014, now with the encouragement, support, and shared interest of his family, Greg decided to commit to opening a brewery and began sketching out his business plan. Their focus was to start a craft brewery business in Old Town Scottsdale and open it in 2015. And that was it, the beginning of what has become the Goldwater Brewing Company, now a staple in the bustling South Scottsdale.
In their search for a location, they came upon this building where Goldwater currently resides which has been home to many businesses over the years, from a transmission work space, to a Corvette repair shop, and part of the iconic Mandall’s Shooting Supplies gun store. Remembered most fondly though, Greg reminisces of the days that it was the Scottsdale Auction House where at twelve years old, he would buy and sell used bicycles on Saturday mornings during the bicycle auctions. So much history in such a unique building that was originally built in 1957 as a grain and feed store to support the local agricultural industry. As Greg likes to say, “it’s come full circle as this building is back to being a ‘grain and feed’ store,” albeit of a different kind.
Chad McClelland, the oldest son of the family and better known as The Brewmaster of Goldwater Brewing, didn’t waste any time following in his dad’s footsteps. As you can imagine, Chad was born with the brewers bug thanks to the reverence he and Dillon shared for their father’s passion. Since the beginning, Chad has been assisting his dad, helping on the weekends in the garage milling grain and stirring the wort which quickly grew his passion for making beer, and eventually becoming the prodigy brewer of Greg; a classic example of the student becoming the master. After graduating from ASU with a BA in Sociology and spending a few years traveling the world, followed by dabbling in the food service industry, Chad pursued a prestigious role as the assistant brewer with an Arizona local start-up brewery. His intellect and drive landed him the job where he learned what was required to scale beer production from a home brew level to a commercial level. After a bit of hands-on experience, Chad and the family went all in and decided to start Goldwater Brewing. Today, Chad brews a variety of styles offered in this industrial-style Tap Room and Goldmine all while perfecting new recipes and keeping up with the high volume demands of wholesale distribution.
The Creative Director
Dillon, the youngest McClelland sibling has always had a knack for art and design. After graduating college with a BA in Graphic Design, Dillon pursued a Design Director position at a quickly growing hospitality company. Learning the ins and outs of what it takes to run a successful bar and having the knowledge of branding an established company, Dillon fit right in to what his Dad was planning. Fast forward a few years later to one hot summer day when Chad, Dillon, and Jimmy received a group text containing 45 characters that would forever change their lives: “Do you want to open up a full-fledged, badass brewery?” The text was sent, read, and the rest is history. From selecting the name, designing the logo, to developing a consistent image, Dillon has had full creative freedom to create a brand that would make Goldwater show up and have heads turning in the craft beer industry. Today you’ll find that all visual elements at Goldwater have been touched with Dillon’s creative ingenuity, whether it’s the photography on their social media, their artfully slick can labels, the hand written beer signs, or their merchandise, all of these elements embody Dillon’s most extensive masterpiece thus far. His philosophy when it comes to the important relationship between design and craft beer is: ”People like what they see before they taste what they like.” It’s safe to say that Greg’s passion has been inherited by both McCelland boys.
The Jack of All Trades
After marrying Greg and Pam’s oldest child and only daughter, Treva, Jimmy Disken quickly became part of the family’s brewing tradition. His humorous antics have never left a dull impression on anyone he meets. Before his “jack of all trades” role as the General Manager of Goldwater, Jimmy had gained over 15 years of experience in the restaurant industry. From working his way from the bottom to the top, Jimmy became the go-to manager for opening up newly built restaurants for a popular chain across Arizona; this gave him the knowledge and expertise that was essential in getting Goldwater up and running. Today, Jimmy oversees the sales and distribution to over 130 bars and restaurants valley-wide while keeping Goldwater’s in-house service logistics running without a hitch. Setting the standards of quality for the Tap Room has made Jimmy a true local celebrity among Goldwater’s many regulars. And you might recognize his sisters too, Jeannine and Lizzie, who are often serving you Goldwater’s delectable beers.
Without any of the four main ingredients listed above, Goldwater would be incomplete. One of the reasons Greg wanted to start this venture was to instill a very valuable lesson with his family: “if you know what you want, can articulate it and declare it out loud to others, and commit to it, then you will be amazed at how the world will conspire to make it happen." It’s all in the language of commitment and that is the business culture this family is building: a “culture of commitment.” Goldwater’s story is the living, breathing example of this truth. Greg can now look back and relish in the fact that he perfectly displayed the lesson to not only his family but to himself as well, and they’re just getting started. Beer can only exist with 4 main ingredients - Water, Barley, Hops, and Yeast. The mandatory recipe is no different for Goldwater Brewing. Once Greg made up his mind to go all in and start a brewery, all of the pieces fell into place, and he had his four main ingredients: Chad, Dillon, Jimmy, and of course Greg himself. This brewery is far enough away from the chaos of the bar/club scene of Old Town Scottsdale that it possesses its own environment that will draw any craft beer enthusiast in for a pint or two and will have you making excuses to stay longer. Goldwater has introduced itself to the world and now it’s time to introduce the world to Goldwater. When you are pursuing your dream for noble reason, and you have the determination, and most importantly the mandatory ingredients, fate won’t allow anything other than triumph.
Written By: Keaton Arnlund, Brewz Traveler