Ferris Bueller once said, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t slow down once in a while, you could miss it.”
It’s a good thing I have to take that left turn at Deer Valley and 7th Avenue slow once in a while, otherwise I’d miss the lightning fast changes that suddenly happened at Borderlands Brewing in north Phoenix.
It’s not Borderlands anymore, so there’s that.
This blog has been tracking the progress of what was supposed to be a Phoenix outpost for Borderlands Brewing over the last few months. Our last update, in late August, noted that the temporary Borderlands sign had disappeared above the door. A few days later, a different sign appeared, and it wasn’t Borderlands.
Ah the intrigue.
Our new favorite Arizona Republic reporter Tirion Morris documented the sudden switch from Borderlands to Simple Machine Brewing Company. In short, Borderlands-North Phoenix was to be run by a pair of former Borderlands brewers—Matt Wright and Marshall Norris. Sometime between Borderlands’ original announcement of a north Phoenix outlet and late August, Wright and Norris and Borderlands decided to go their own separate ways. The two will continue with their own brewery—Simple Machine—and Borderlands will evidently start over with a new space somewhere in Phoenix or Tempe.
Reading Morris’ story, it appears that the split, while amicable, came down to issues of distribution and market share. Borderlands-North Phoenix would have been a franchise location, meaning Borderlands Tucson would be competing against itself. Goes to show that in the craft beer business, business comes first.
One personal frustration is that Simple Machine will not include a kitchen, opting for food trucks and to send patrons to the Mexican food restaurant next door. A good portion of Simple Machine’s very large space will be dedicated to beer production.
While I will miss the opportunity to regularly sample Borderlands' Imperial German Chocolate Cake Porter, Simple Machine Brewing does have plans for an eclectic brewing program, including "European and Asian styles."