Empyrean Brewing Company
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|5,500 US barrels|
Empyrean Brewing Company is a brewery founded in 1990 in Lincoln, Nebraska, US, by the holding company Telesis Inc. The following year, Telesis opened Lazlo's Brewery and Grill, Nebraska's first brewpub. Lazlo's restaurants are located in Lincoln and Omaha. Currently, Empyrean beer is available in Nebraska, South Dakota, and parts of Iowa.
Lazlo's Brewery and Grill was founded in 1990. Rich Chapin, the Head Brewer, began to convert his award-winning homebrew recipes for the restaurant. The grand opening of the brewpub took place on March 20, 1991, at 710 P St. in Lincoln's historic Haymarket District. During that year, the company sold approximately 500 barrels of their beer.
In 1996, construction began on a new fermentation cellar in the adjacent Coffee and Spice Building at 729 Q St. After completion of the construction in 1997, Empyrean Brewing Company and Lazlo's Brewery and Grill became separate financial entities under the Telesis umbrella. As production increased, K & Z Distributing of Lincoln and Miller Brands of Omaha begin distributing Empyrean beer.
Just one year after contracting with the distributors, Empyrean had over 70 draft contracts in Lincoln and Omaha. To meet these needs, brewing capacity was increased to 2,500 barrels. The increasing popularity of the beers caused Empyrean owners to begin to consider bottling the beers for more widespread distribution.
Empyrean began the bottling process in 1999 with their LunaSea ESB, Third Stone Brown and Chaco Canyon Honey Gold. In doing so, Empyrean became the first Nebraska craft brewery to bottle its beers.
In 2000, a second Lazlo's location was opened in South Lincoln on Old Cheney Road. As the brewing capacity was increased again, Empyrean began to draw up plans for a new brewhouse which would make it the largest brewery in Nebraska in 2001. It was at that time that Dark Side Vanilla Porter was created. By 2002, Empyrean became the first brewery in Nebraska to distribute across the entire state. In Lincoln, the Telesis family was expanding as well, with the creation of FireWorks, a restaurant focused on wood-fired cooking.  Also in 2002, the Burning Skye Scottish Ale was created.
Empyrean Brewing believes that "Ancient man believed that there existed a paradise at the pinnacle of the universe in the form of a fiery sphere that was called Empyrean. Empyrean Brewing Company has embodied the flaming sphere in the Empyrean logo (see left). Further suggestions of the celestial connection can be gleaned from the beers themselves. Most of the beers' names reference astronomy and all of the company's labels depict heavenly scenes." 
All of Empyrean's active beers are available on-tap and in bottles, except for the nitrogenated Collapsar Oatmeal Stout, which is on-tap only. In addition to their six regular beers, Empyrean consistently brews two additional beers, the Eccentric Seasonal Ale and the Lazlo's Limited. Usually, the Eccentric is chosen from the company's lineup of seasonal beers, while the Lazlo's limited, available only at the Telesis-owned restaurants, is the champion of the "BeerQuest" competition for local homebrewers.
In addition to "BeerQuest", Empyrean sponsors several beer-related events in the Lincoln area. On the first non-holiday Monday of every month, Lazlo's Brewery and Grill in the Haymarket hosts "Cask Night", an event featuring two Empyrean beers that have been cask-conditioned. On the same night, next door, the brewery opens its doors to the first 150 people to arrive to receive an exclusive tour of the brewery and a presentation from Head Brewer Rich Chapin. "Brewed Awakening" is a monthly event that pairs beers from all over the world with food that will complement them.
- "Fireworks Website". Retrieved 2007-11-28.
- "World Beer Cup 2006 Winners List". Archived from the original on April 27, 2006. Retrieved 2007-11-28.
- "Empyrean Ales - Inspiration". Archived from the original on 2007-07-16. Retrieved 2007-11-28.
- Feyerherm, Melanie (2005-02-18). "Nebraska's first brewpub combines beer, food for flavorful events". Daily Nebraskan. Retrieved 2007-11-29.[permanent dead link]
- Empyrean Brewing Company