Wyoming’s oldest Brewery, Snake River Brewing, is a Jackson favorite for both locals and visitors. This month the Brewpub is launching Jenny Lake Lager, formerly Snake River Lager, and has committed to donating a portion of proceeds from Jenny Lake Lager sales to support the Foundation’s Inspiring Journeys campaign. We recently spoke with Ted Staryk, owner of Snake River Brewing, to gain some insight into the Brewery’s history and his passion for Grand Teton National Park.
As Jackson’s oldest, locally owned brewery, tell us a little bit about the history of Snake River Brewing began and the history of the organization. When did you get involved?
Albert and Joni Upsher were the founders and original owners of Snake River Brewing in March 1994. In the early-80’s, Al quit his job as a stock broker in New York City to head West, and settled in Oregon, where he owned a Budweiser distributor. When the craft beer boom started, Al decided to open a small brewery and chose Jackson Hole as its home. The Upshers bought an old Pepsi warehouse, renovated it, and opened the doors to Snake River Brewing, 21 years ago.
In 2006 my wife, Noa, and I bought the Brew Pub from the Upshers and have done our best to continue to represent it as a local, community-minded establishment.
What is your favorite part about operating a small business and brewery in Jackson, WY?
The Brew Pub is a special place. We have a handful of employees that have been with us since day one. Our employees are loyal and creative, and they enjoy coming to work every day. They are a huge factor in the Pub’s success.
The Brew Pub acts as a living room to our loyal locals who have been coming here since we opened. It is also an inviting, warm atmosphere for out-of-towners who want a place to relax, eat great food, drink local beer, and enjoy friendly conversation with our staff. Owning and operating a business that is such a community staple in this small town is the best part. The beers are pretty good too!
Tell us about the newly re-branded Jenny Lake Lager and why you decided to donate proceeds to Inspiring Journeys: A Campaign for Jenny Lake.
We have been talking about rebranding our Snake River Pale Ale and Snake River Lager for years. Having two beers called “Snake River” seemed redundant, and we were ready to get creative and refresh the images. One day, a staff member said “Jenny Lake Lager,” and everyone agreed that it really rolled off the tongue. The next step was getting the name and iconic image approved by the National Park Service. For the design, we used a vintage poster of Jenny Lake, which fits perfectly.
My family and I have been coming to Jackson for a long time, and GTNP has always been a special place for us to explore. Whether boating on Jackson Lake or hiking to Inspiration Point the park is intertwined in our lives. We wanted to find a great way to give back to it. We knew about the restoration project and after looking into rebranding our beer as “Jenny Lake Lager,” donating a portion of the proceeds to Inspiring Journeys: A Campaign for Jenny Lake seemed like a perfect fit. We know that the proceeds are benefiting the greater good of the park, ensuring it will be something future generations will be able to enjoy.
As a long-time resident of the valley, if you had to choose one place in Grand Teton to visit daily for the rest of your life, where would it be and why?
It would not be one place but rather one thing in Grand Teton National Park. I love visiting the mountain lakes – Jackson, Phelps, Solitude, and of course Jenny, to just name a few. They are all spectacular in their own right and magical places to visit. I can’t choose just one!
On behalf of the Foundation, thank you Snake River Brewery for your support of Grand Teton National Park! #ILoveJennyLake