Two hours from Tulsa is a town of about 50,000 that is in the heart of the grain belt. The first brewery in Enid opened six months ago, and the town is enjoying what other bigger cities have been enjoying for a few years.
But this brewery is different.
Enid Brewing Co., at the corner of Main Street and Independence Avenue in downtown Enid, is also the only grain-to-glass brewery in Oklahoma. The term grain to glass reflects its ownership of a farm that grows the grains used in its beers.
Partners Justin Blasier and Brady Sidwell started Enid Brewing Co. as they were sampling Justin’s homebrew. Sidwell is the owner of Enterprise Grain Co., Oklahoma’s newest independent grain company. Blasier is an award-winning homebrewer and the brewing specialist for Enterprise Grain Co.
“We got together talking about grain and beer and craft beer and, after several sessions in his kitchen drinking his homebrew, we thought, you know what? We could put a brewery together, and we did and Enid Brewing Co. is what became of it,” Sidwell said.
“This is where I grew up. It’s the foundation and heritage of this part of the state. We are in the grain belt of Oklahoma. We thought this makes a lot of sense. We got something here; we can go all the way to the finish line.”
Grain growing runs in Sidwell’s family. His grandfather raised wheat and barley, as well as his dad. The brewery’s taproom has photos of his father’s home. Parts of the bar are made from the wood from the home.
After growing up in Enid, Sidwell went on to OSU and then spent 10 years overseas. He eventually came back home to become an entrepreneur.
In 2018, Sidwell acquired a nearby malter, a facility that turns grain into malt. This was the first entry into the brewery business when he began supplying grains to brewers and distilleries through Enterprise Grain Co. in Kremlin.
The building that houses the brewery has lots of history. It was built in the early 1900s as a Masonic Temple. It has also been a shoe factory, car store, grocery store and even housed the Enid newspaper. There are also reports that Amelia Earhart had lunch upstairs when she visited Enid in 1931.
“With a craft brewery, and to be a kind of iconic place for people to come, being downtown is a great location. I think across the country there is a kind of main street revival where old buildings are being refurbished. People like to be in an old building tying into history,” Sidwell said.
There are plans to bring back food service to the building. Those plans would create a local restaurant, most likely putting it upstairs. Sidwell even has plans to use the beef that he raises. He feeds his cattle the spent grain from the brewing process.
“We are very excited about grain to glass. I think we have realized over time how unique it made our business model. It is a foundation of our brand and who we are and how we differentiate in this business,” Sidwell said.
Knowing your grains and knowing how to brew beer is an advantage when you can tell a customer what it will taste like and what kind of efficiency you will get out of it.
“We know exactly the products and the varieties and the characteristics of those varieties and having the consistency of our ingredients that we supply,” Sidwell said. “It’s local, it is truly local, we talk about craft beer as a local product, but we feel when the ingredients are local and we know the farmer, we are the farmers.”
It makes sense for the grain belt to start supplying the needs of breweries and distilleries. They have been growing the products for years, but this is a new market.
“These are crops that are grown here for multipurposes; we are not trying to force something into a place because we are trying to create a market for it. It has been here for a very long time,” Sidwell said.
Enterprise Grain and Enid Brewing Co. have the freedom to experiment with different grains. However, they don’t grow one of the other ingredients in beer — hops.
Enid Brewing Co. is a destination for people in the area. Vance Air Force Base is in Enid and has people there from all over the country. The brewery was full on a Friday night of servicemen and women from the base listening to local musician Josh Meloy. I would guess the median age was 27.
The brewery plans on being the entertainment center for Enid, with local bands and entertainment. This will get patrons in to try its beers, but there will still be a learning curve for the people of Enid.
“With all breweries, there is some education, especially in the smaller towns. We are like 50,000 people here. We tie into a lot of our farmers as a customer base,” Sidwell said.
Enid Brewing Co. uses a five-barrel system and is already self-distributing to Chili’s, Buffalo Wild Wings and Vance Air Force Base. It plans on canning its most popular beer, Enterprise Amber Ale, in the future.
“We wanted to be big enough but not too big. We wanted to make sure this worked for Enid,” Sidwell said.
Brewery patron Trevor Pull of Waukomis, a town just south of Enid, has his reasons for visiting the brewery on a Friday night.
“Enid Brewing is a destination for us because it is a brewery in Enid, Oklahoma, that we have never had before. This is a destination for a lot of outside people like Drummond, Waukomis, Hennessey, just because they don’t have brewing companies close. You have to go to OKC to get a craft beer. It is a pretty cool deal that we have this here,” Pull said.
This isn’t the only thing happening in downtown Enid. It has a convention center, a ballpark, restaurants and another brewery called Settlers Brewing Co. in the construction phase. A new boutique hotel by Best Western is being built across the street from Enid Brewing Co. called GLo.
“Downtown Enid is amazing. It is really cool we have one of the best ballparks in the country as far as baseball; there is a lot of high school and college ball that comes in here. The convention center is amazing. They put on a ton of concerts for a small town; it’s a cool place to come to,” Pull said.
Enid Brewing Co. is nonsmoking, family-friendly and pet-friendly and is open seven days a week.
Here is what is on tap now:
BlueJay Kolsch, 6% ABV
Chisholm Trail Cream Ale, 5.4% ABV
Enterprise Amber Ale, 6.2% ABV
Pastimes Pale Ale, 5.8% ABV
Owen K. IPA, 6.7% ABV
Vance Proud FlyPA, 6.7% ABV
Controlled Burn Wheat Beer, 4.5% ABV
Harvest Hefeweizen, 5% ABV
Red Dirt Wit, 5.1% ABV
Pleasant Porter, 7.6% ABV
Pleasant Porter Nitro 7.6% ABV
Peach Kolsch, 6% ABV
BlueBarry Chisholm Trail Cream Ale, 4.6% ABV