A logo of a bison skull hanging from the branches of a dead tree doesn’t exactly scream exciting growth. Still, Skull Tree Brewing in North Casper is the latest small brewery to crack open here in recent years, and it’s already spread roots across town.
The four owners — two couples — bring an array of experiences. Ty Martinez, the main brewer, previously worked in the same capacity elsewhere. Bob Glisczinski worked in construction before and is now studying under Ty to become a brewer himself.
Their wives, Nicole Martinez and Cindy Glisczinski, also work at the brewery.
Indeed, it was Cindy’s personal experiences that brought Skull Tree to life (or not, given the death-filled logo). She had been out on the town a few years ago with friends and thought there was more that could be brought to the downtown scene in terms of brewing and service.
Now, she’s quick to defend downtown and its recent growth. Still, the feeling that Casper’s main area could do better brought the group together.
While the brewery isn’t downtown — it’s in a building owned by Ty’s father at 1530 Burlington Ave. — the crew have plans to one day move there. They join Frontier Brewing and Gruner Brothers as relatively new spots in the Casper brewing scene, joining the more established Backwards Distilling Company in the alcohol-making business here.
There were hang-ups in getting Skull Tree up and running. They gutted the building and rebuilt it largely by themselves (except for some work that needed hiring out). Getting various permits from various agencies also pushed back the opening date.
Finally, in December, all hurdles had been cleared and the doors were opened. The interior is small but warm, with a few tables and a bar where any of the four owners can pour beer or fill crowlers (essentially giant beer cans). Through an open doorway is the brewing equipment, all shining chrome and giant vats, like if Willy Wonka’s factory brewed beer.
Ty explained that Skull Tree wants to offer a more boutique experience. They’ve partnered with Grant Street Grocery to make a coffee beer. Their beer is offered at a number of spots in town — Old Chicago, Keg and Cork and Gaslight, among other local haunts. They even distribute into Douglas, though the owners say they don’t really have the intention — or the means — to spread much further out.
The goal is to brew about 100 gallons per day.
The spot is also kid friendly, the owners said. As they talked last month, Ty and Nicole’s son played on a screen at one of the tables. The brewery makes its own root beer.
The group is positive and tries — hard — to avoid stepping on any of their competitors’ toes. Still, there had to have been something they weren’t expecting about the brewing business that caught them off guard.
“Cleaning,” Bob said. “I’m not going to lie, there’s a lot of cleaning.”