Over a year of toil and a few soft openings later, Brewery 719 welcomed the public for its first official day of business Feb. 8.

The Chamber Ambassadors arrived for the ceremonial ribbon cutting at 2 p.m. that Friday. Then the customers — and tips — began to roll in. On Wednesday, brewery owners presented a check to Pillars for the Park for more than half a pillar, over $400, as they donated all the tips from opening day.

During an interview and tour of the brewery, DJ Sulzbach, co-owner with Nick and Toni McCoy, described how the gleaming metal cylinders fit into the process — brew tank on the west side, mash tank to the east. He explained they each hold five barrels, or about 650 gallons.

Sulzbach said an “average” brew is 18 days. A separate tank clarifies the beer.

Though the new business utilizes nearly every square foot of the main floor there is room to expand below street level. Sulzbach said that the basement will be “excellent for cellaring beer ‘down the road.’”

Brewery 719 brings what had been a hobby for its owners into an Alliance storefront. The popularity of home brewing and wine making has been evident this past decade with solid competition at the Box Butte County Fair’s Hopps & Berries event.

Fans of craft brewing may have spent time in Fort Collins, Colo., or other relatively near hot spots. Belying the common complaint, “There’s nothing to do here,” do not be railroaded. Old engine 719 is still parked near Laing Park and freight trains still rumble through town. This venture taps that history.

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