Utah’s strict liquor laws are something of a hilarious nuisance for many visitors to the state. To the uninitiated, it might seem that Utahns aren’t a particularly alcohol-loving people. However, beer and breweries have a long and vibrant history in the Beehive state. One Utah brewer, Albert Fisher, used his prosperity to leave a mark on Salt Lake City’s west side.
An immigrant from Germany, Fisher opened the A. Fisher Brewing Company in 1884. German immigrants were embraced for their beer brewing skills, and Fisher quickly became a well-respected leader in the brewing industry. His was one of Utah’s first breweries and it eventually became the largest in the West.
Situated along the banks of the Jordan River, near 200 South and 1200 West, the massive brewery sat on an entire city block. Fisher used state-of-the-art German brewing methods to create his beer. Every aspect of the process -- from malting barley, to milling and drying hops, to shipping out the finished bottled product -- was completed on-site. This massive undertaking paid off, and Fisher's business boomed. By 1905, he had roughly 50 employees and was brewing 75,000 barrels for the many bars he owned in the Salt Lake Valley.
Fisher also commissioned a mansion built about a block away from his brewery. Designed by renowned architect Richard K. A. Kletting, the impressive house on the Jordan River remains a fixture in Salt Lake’s industrial west side. The building has served many purposes in the last century, first as a beer tycoon’s private residence, and then as a convent for Catholic nuns, and later a substance abuse treatment facility.
Prosperity for Fisher Brewing came to an end in 1920 when Prohibition shut down Utah’s bars and distilleries. The brewery reopened in 1934, but was eventually sold to a California company in the mid-1950s and then finally closed in 1967. Fifty years later, in 2017, the great-great grandson of Albert Fisher resurrected the brewery -- this time in an old auto shop in Salt Lake City's Granary District. Today, microbreweries and a booming beer culture is once again embraced by many Utahns.
See Richard Markosian, “A History of Beer in Utah, Part 2” Utah Stories, March 14, 2011; Christopher Smart, “Whatever Happened to... Fisher Brewery?” Salt Lake Tribune, August 30, 2016; Babs De Lay, “Babs in the City - A Short History of Utah Beer,” Utah Stories, April 4, 2017; Chris Dunsmore, “Fisher Mansion,” Mapping Salt Lake City; “Old Fisher Brewery Being Remodeled at Cost of $250,000 for Beer Production in Spring,” Salt Lake Telegram, November 11, 2022; Linda Sillitoe, A History of Salt Lake County,Salt Lake City: Utah State Historical Society, 1996; Del Vance, Beer in the Beehive: A History of Brewing in Utah, Salt Lake City: Dream Garden Press, 2008.