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It's back; Nimbus beer back on store shelves, on tap

It's back; Nimbus beer back on store shelves, on tap

Eighteen months after it closed and stopped production, Nimbus Brewing Co.’s fan favorite Pale Ale and Blonde Ale are back on Arizona store shelves, and the signature Monkeyshine Ale is back on tap in some Arizona restaurants, bars and taprooms.

And the new owners of Nimbus, one of Tucson’s oldest breweries, have plans to eventually can Monkeyshine Ale for retail sale.

“We are currently planning a lot of exciting things for Nimbus Beer Co. in 2020,” said Bruce Miller, vice president of marketing for Two Brothers Brewing Co., the Illinois-based brewer that bought Nimbus at auction early this year for a reported $550,000.

The sale included the brewing equipment at the East 44th Street Nimbus brewery and restaurant and the beer recipes.

Nimbus beer has been brewed in Illinois since April and distributed exclusively in Arizona at Fry’s Food Stores and Safeway, Miller said.

“We’ve been doing beer here in Illinois for 23 years and just based on the trends and what’s best selling, (owner Jason Ebel) made the decision that those would be the two we would start with,” Miller said. “I think it’s going to eventually expand but it’s just being developed right now.”

Two Brothers Brewing, which had until recently operated a tap house and brewery in Scottsdale and several other brewery-centric restaurants in Illinois, bought Nimbus in a court-ordered auction late last year.

Nimbus closed in May 2018 after a court-ordered receiver determined the longtime brewery and restaurant didn’t have the money to continue operating.

The business had been at the center of a drawn out and contentious divorce proceeding between Nimbus founder James Counts and his wife, Patricia.

As part of the couple’s 2014 divorce, James Counts was ordered to either sell the business and split the proceeds with his ex-wife or buy her out.

As of the 2018 court hearings, he had done neither, according to court records.

Miller said Two Brothers owners — Jason and his brother Jim Ebel — plan to relaunch a Two Brothers taproom and restaurant in the Phoenix area in 2020.

The Midwest regional brewing company distributes in a dozen states.

Miller said there are no plans to take Nimbus national, but “it was a brand that we wanted to keep and we knew it was important for the fans of the brand in Arizona.”

“We wanted to make sure to keep it going and improve on it,” he said.

Contact reporter Cathalena E. Burch at cburch@tucson.com or 573-4642. On Twitter @Starburch


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