After four years, local brewer Aaron Hanson is feeling tapped out.
He put his chemistry-infused brewpub — Bunsenbrewer — up for sale on probrewer.com last December, and now is seeking a buyer who wants to reinvent the space with their own vision and brew quality, custom beer.
"To have a place like this, you have to have the energy to make it something that's cool and your own," Hanson says, describing how what was once a passion project for him has been mostly functioning in "maintenance mode" as of late.
"It's kind of like a relationship," he says. "You can get by (in maintenance mode), but it's not where you want to be."
Hanson's passion for brewing started in college, where he home-brewed beers with a friend while obtaining his degree in biochemistry from the University of Minnesota.
When he and his family moved to Sandy in 2011, he says he felt drawn to open a brewery and supply Sandy with its own local brew house.
"I thought there was room for a brewery," Hanson explains. "Beer is part of a community's identity in a very unique way. I thought it would be fun to add more identity to Sandy, and just add more to the town."
Like many businesses, Bunsenbrewer has had its "seasonal ups and downs," but that is not his main reason for hanging up his lab coat.
"Having a 1-year-old is a full-time job, and I don't have the energy to make this place grow and thrive," he says, citing the difficulties of trying to care for a child and also brew beer.
Kids and kegs are a mismatch.
"(You're) fermenting and boiling things. Then add a 1-year-old."
For the past year, Hanson has been trading off responsibilities for watching little Newton by taking him during the day when his wife, who is a doctor, works, then handing him off to go brew when she gets home. This is a draw on brewing time, as he can't focus on it and keep Newton out of trouble. It also makes family time scarce.
But Hanson plans to soldier on and provide the Sandy community beer and a place to hang out for as long as it takes to find the right buyer.
"It takes creativity, energy, passion and marketing in addition to all the brewing, which also takes those things (to own a brewery)," he says. "I never set out to be the next Widmer Brothers. I think in the craft brewing industry there's a lot of room at the bottom for small operations. I'm really hoping to find somebody who's looking for an opportunity to rock out and do their thing."