Powder Bros to Brew Pros

Twin brothers Rory & Brett Marenco transformed a love of skiing, to a love of brewing in ski country. The best après-ski is a cold brew!

Growing up in Lake Tahoe was the catalyst for skiing. Prospective colleges hinged on access to ski slopes. Family ski trips to Colorado, Montana, and Utah searched for a combination of engineering studies, with world class skiing.  

The winner was the University of Utah in Salt Lake City; a premier educational & research institution, coupled with “The Greatest Snow on Earth”! Both received degrees in Mechanical Engineering, with minors in Champagne Powder. The art of homebrewing was instructed by a fellow engineering student.

North to Alaska followed, as Construction Engineers for Alyeska Pipeline. They soon discovered the hidden gem that is Alyeska, nestled away in the heart of the Chugach Mountains & in 2008 moved to Girdwood. They continued to refine homebrewing skills, fabricating a brew process out of recycled kegs; coined the product “Bald Brother’s Brewing” & began competing in beer competitions. It was readily apparent that as a premier mountain ski town in the 21st century, Girdwood needed a brewery.

Over a keg of local craft beer at a friend’s birthday party, they brainstormed with Josh Hegna. They became partners and the idea for Girdwood Brewing Company was born!

The assembled team: Rory Marenco – Brew Engineer / Taproom Manager, Brett Marenco – Brew Engineer / Production Manager, Josh Hegna – Beer Ambassador / Director of Marketing, Amy Shimek – Chief Tasting Officer, Karl McLaughlin – Chief Tasting Officer. Girdwood Brewing opened in March 2017, over the last 5 years growing into a successful local brewery. Several upgrades including an increase in fermentation capacity (more tanks) & expanding taproom/ beer garden space, allowing growth to meet increasing demand.

NorthRim Engineering was contracted in early 2017 to obtain engineering approval for Girdwood Brewing water system. We also strive to combine work with skiing, so this was a natural for us. Mount Alyeska is the recharge basin for the aquifer, transforming powder into brew.

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