Marana will receive its first brewery west of Interstate 10 when Wicked Monkey Brewing Company opens next year.
Set to open mid-2020, Wicked Monkey is the work of local brewer Shawn Cochran and wife Karen, who’ve been involved in the Tucson brewing community for many years now. Cochran first became interested in brewing when he tried some less than stellar craft beers and realized he could probably do better. Ten years of home brewing later, he’s more than excited to open his own microbrewery.
Wicked Monkey Brewing Company is partially named after the flying monkeys in the “Wizard of Oz,” and will open at 7701 N. Business Park Drive in the Peppertree Ranch Business Park. The site boasts more than 8,000 square feet of indoor space on a 9,500 square-foot property. Remodeling of the location begins next month, with a projected completion date of summer or fall 2020.
Cochran is opening Wicked Monkey with years of experience. After receiving a degree in biochemistry from the University of Arizona, and a subsequent master’s in business administration, he attended the American Brewers Guild in Vermont. This education led to an internship at Dragoon Brewing, where he’s now worked for seven years.
All the while, the idea for Wicked Monkey brewed. While Cochran has many recipes from his years of home brewing, he said one of the main goals for Wicked Monkey will be aligning to customer wants and interests.
“The system we’re going to get is designed for flexibility,” Cochran said. “I like Belgians, ambers, saisons. There are so many types of beer, but we’re not going to specifically target one. Ultimately, the customer will dictate the styles. If there’s one they really want, we’ll make them.”
Cochran said they don’t plan on doing a lot of distribution, and instead plan on making most of their sales on site. There are plans with local retailers, such as Tap & Bottle, to host their brews. There is also the opportunity for Wicked Monkey to do ‘contract brewing’ for larger local breweries, like 1912 Brewing Company.
“We’re going to lean a little more towards the ‘seasonable side,’” Cochran said. “If we open in fall, we’ll make a pumpkin saison, and so on.”
Their large property is one of the key assets of the business. Aside from brewing and entertaining guests, Wicked Monkey has rental space for private events.
“There’s a lot of room to expand,” Cochran said. “But we’re not planning on doing a lot of distribution, the plan is to have a majority of distribution out of the front.”
Further down the line, in a kind of “phase two” of the brewery’s production, Cochran hopes to even host guests in the lot’s space out back.