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This early pioneer of the microbrewing industry in Arizona has been voted in the top 10 every year since 2000, and has garnered anywhere from the #6 spot in 2000 up to the #1 spot for multiple years, and #5 in this 20th Anniversary edition of the publication.
Prescott, AZ: May 23, 2017 Opened in 1994, this husband and wife team (John and Roxane Nielsen) have successfully maintained a relevancy within the fast-growing craft beer/microbrewery industry in Arizona. AZBIGMEDIA conducts this purely- opinion poll via an interactive website where Arizonans can vote for their favorite of 20,000 businesses in 250 categories. The brewpub is located downtown Prescott since 1994; the production plant located on Lear Lane near the Prescott airport, was in full operation by 2011.

For the most part, beers brewed at the Gurley Street pub location are served in-house or in growlers to go. Beers brewed and packaged at the production plant are distributed throughout Arizona. Prescott Brewing Company® is announcing a rebranding currently in process, which will include the release of three new retail canned products….Lodgepole Light Cream Ale, PalePricot Pale Ale and Manzanita Red Ale will soon be hitting the on-premise retailers and off-premise shelves. These three new releases will increase the Company’s line-up of packaged product to six varieties.

One of the most exciting aspects to winning the #5 place in Ranking Arizona’s 20th Anniversary edition, is that the brewery, from the small northern Arizona town of Prescott, AZ, is the only one of the top 10 outside of the Maricopa County area to have been recognized by the public. Prescott Brewing Company® has consistently provided employment for between 65-75 employees since it opened in 1994, was a founding member of the Arizona Craft Brewers Guild in 1998, and is the oldest continuously operating craft brewery in Arizona.

“With the introduction of three new varieties of Prescott Brewing Company®’s packaged products”, says owner John Nielsen, “we hope to continue to be recognized throughout the state for our longevity, consistency and commitment to the craft beer revolution.”

“Not bad for little ole’ Prescott, AZ” says Roxane….”come visit us next time you choose Prescott for a road trip.”


Business life is really hopping for John and Roxane Nielsen right now.

The Nielsens, owners of the Prescott Brewing Company®, are on the verge of building a new microbrewery near the Prescott Airport. The plan is to construct a 4,500-square-foot building this spring that will give them the ability to brew nearly 1,800 barrels of beer and can it beginning this fall. "It will allow us to add six or seven different brands (for distribution in cans)," John said.

The new set-up is four times bigger than the brewing system John and Roxane already have online and is another huge move for them as they near their 17th anniversary since they first opened in 1994.

"This is a big step, especially in this economy. I'd rather be ahead of the eight-ball than behind it," Roxane said.

John said the strategy is the result of three years of number-crunching and drafting a business plan for a move meant to grow their brand popularity.
"We want to capitalize on that and expand it even more," he said.

They have 65 employees now and John said they would add about five employees at the new location in the first year and another five or 10 the following year.

Three employees package 100 cases of beer in seven hours, and John added that once the new airpark location comes online, two employees will be able to package 100 cases in less than 90 minutes.

Roxane and John said they will still continue to brew beer at the restaurant at 130 W. Gurley St., and the move will allow them to go back to offering as many as a dozen beers on tap.

In the meantime, John and Roxane are welcoming people to visit them during Arizona Beer Week.

The Arizona Craft Brewers Guild is presenting the event, which runs from Feb. 19-26 and features tons of events statewide.

Here in Prescott, people can visit the Prescott Brewing Company® and get four-ounce samples of eight to 10 beers for $5 from 11 a.m. to close during the week.

People can also visit Mile Hi Brewing Supplies at 231 N. Cortez St., Suite A., and get information about beer- and wine-making supplies.

"It gives people an opportunity to taste and sample some beer styles they might not be familiar with," John said, adding that the week-long event is meant to promote the state's beer industry, which also creates jobs and helps bolster the state's tax revenues.

Dennis Arnold, president of the Arizona Craft Brewers Guild, said the idea for the week came from the national Brewers Association as a way for each state to showcase craft beers.

"We decided to put on a big push this year and let people know who we are," he said.

For information on Arizona Beer Week, visit, or


Beer - Everywhere you look across Arizona, it seems that a new brewpub has popped up. And it’s not amateur stuff, folks.

Fan favorite Four Peaks Brewing Company, based in Tempe, offers a wide variety of brews, including their award-winning flagship beer Kilt Lifter, a Scottish style ale.

Other great breweries include SanTan Brewing in Chandler, Prescott Brewing Company®, and Nimbus Brewing Company in Tucson.


Owner's special recipes, quality of craft result in awards on international stage

PRESCOTT - Credit the U.S. Army and a Northern Arizona University parents' day for the Prescott Brewing Co.®

"I was stationed in Germany from 1974 to 1977, and I learned to appreciate good beer," said John Nielsen, the brewing company's co-owner with his wife, Roxanne."When I came back, I didn't like American beer, so I started dabbling with making my own."

Last month, beer connoisseurs and fans across the state voted the Prescott Brewing Co. "Arizona's No. 1 Microbrewery."

Online voting started in 2009 on the Internet site, "Ranking Arizona - The Best of Arizona," which is the largest business opinion poll in Arizona, according to AZ Business Magazine.

"We're a brew pub," Nielsen said. "That means we have a full-service restaurant and a microbrewery."

A microbrewery makes less than 15,000 barrels of beer per year. Each barrel holds 31 gallons.

"We brew three to four times a week, depending on business," said Jan Brown, lead brewer. "We've got about 40-50 recipes, and six flagship beers that we keep on hand all the time." David Purcell and Erick Laurilla live in Flagstaff but travel frequently to Prescott to spend time at Prescott Brewing.

"We love the beer here," Purcell said Wednesday while drinking "Smokie the Brew." "We work all over the state and have hit a lot of places, but this is our favorite. And the food is very good, too."

Prescott Brewing Co.® is not just an Arizona favorite. The Nielsens opened the pub March 15, 1994, and two years later hung their first trophy plaque. National and international awards line the restaurant walls.Roxanne Nielsen said that when the couple travels, whether to New York, North Carolina or Hawaii, it seems someone invariably knows about the pub and its beer. However, they did not travel much their first year in business.

"Twenty-hour days for the first six months," John said.

"John would go into the brewery and take naps on the floor and set the alarm on his watch so that he could come up and work the restaurant," Roxanne added. "You start with the mash," Brown said. "Then the hops and yeast and let it rock and roll. "That's the simple explanation."

Brewers store finished beer in a temperature-controlled beer cellar. Tubes connected to the barrels carry beer upstairs through the floor directly into taps at the bar. "That's why our beer is so fresh," Brown said. The Nielsens credit the pub's beer success with John's special recipes and the quality of the brewing.

They credit the restaurant's success to the quality of the food and their 68 employees. "We rely on the human factor," Roxanne said.

While the Nielsens were visiting their son during parents' day at NAU, they decided they liked Flagstaff and wanted to move there from their home in Santa Cruz, Calif. "We liked Flagstaff, but every house we looked at had something we didn't like," Roxanne said.

"The (real-estate agent) told us to go to Prescott," John added. "So we came down. I stood on the courthouse square and said, 'This is it."

"I was here on their opening day," Laurilla said while sitting with Purcell. "We didn't know about the award, but I say it's the best brewery."
"We are the only licensed operating brewery in the county since Prohibition (1920-1933)," John said.

"We are the first ones."


An Eight/KAET Production


— Arizona breweries tap into nationwide phenomenon —Aging techniques, recommended food pairings, closely guarded formulas – these qualities are no longer reserved for the finest wines. They are now commonly used in reference to beer. The growing craft (or micro) breweries have revolutionalized the industry.

The trend is especially evident in Arizona. In this latest edition of Craft Beer, The New Wine , Eight travels to cities around the state to showcase brewers in Tempe, Scottsdale, Phoenix, Flagstaff, Oak Creek, Sedona and Prescott.

Eight takes viewers behind the scenes for a look at the intricate brewing process and to hear from members of the Arizona Craft Brewing Guild as they discuss the growth and impact of craft brewers are having on the economy and beer industry in our state. Viewers also learn how the formulation of recipes, the ingredients and the skill of the staff determine the quality of the product. Craft Beer: The New Wine , an Eight/KAET production, airs Monday, March 8, 2010 at 9 p.m. on Eight.

Craft Beer, The New Wine locations include:

Prescott Brewing Company®, Prescott
Old World Brewery, Phoenix
SunUp Brewing, Phoenix
San Tan Brewing Company, Tempe
Four Peaks Brewing Company, Tempe
Sleepy Dog Brewery, Tempe
Gordon Biersch Restaurant & Brewery, Tempe location
Papago Brewing, Scottsdale
Rock Bottom, Scottsdale
Beaver Street Brewery, Flagstaff
Flagstaff Brewing Company, Flagstaff
Oak Creek Brewing Co., Sedona

During the broadcast, Eight will be offering tickets the 2 nd Annual Eight Craft Beer Festival scheduled for May 1, 2010 at the Lath House in downtown Phoenix. The fund raising event will feature beers “Made in Arizona,” and will benefit Eight and the Arizona Craft Beer Guild.


PBC just awarded a Gold Medal at the 2018 North American Brewers Association annual beer competition for PBC’s Weizenbock entry, a German Wheat Beer of Bock strength.

Unfortunately, already sold out at pub, but we’ll have another batch coming up. Check facebook page later for release.



Prescott Brewing Company® receives two prestigious Bronze Medal beer awards from the world-renowned Australian International Beer Awards competition. The 25th annual AIBA competition was held in May 2017 celebrating 25 years this year, and is the largest annual beer competition in the world judging both draft and package beer.

The AIBA is conducted by The Royal Agricultural Society of Victoria (RASV) and judged by a panel of high caliber experts with extensive experience across the Australian and International beer industry. According to the AIBA, the panel of over 60 international beer experts judged 1892 BEER entries across three days in Melbourne, with beers received from Australia and around the world..1063 Australian and 979 International entries.

For more information about the competition, go to click on Results and search in Best IPA category, entry #9417 for Prescott Brewing Company’s Ponderosa IPA Bronze, the Rest and search in Best Specialty Beer (Chocolate) entry #5241 for Achocolypse Chocolate Porter.

Prescott, AZ: May 23, 2017 After continued award-winning relevance in the fast-growing and changing craft beer industry in Arizona, Prescott Brewing Company® has just received it’ 5th International Competition award since it opened in 1994. After opening in 1994, PBC® PBC entered the World Beer Cup Competition, and proudly received a GOLD Medal for Lodgepole Light in the American Lager or Cream Ale category and a SILVER Medal for its Ponderosa IPA in the India Pale Ale category, both in 1998. After a short dry spell, PBC once again was recognized for excellence in 2004 with its Christmas City Ale (our holiday spiced beer brewed to honor Prescott, AZ….Arizona’s Christmas City since 1994) for which it received a Bronze Medal in the Herb & Spice category.

Brewmaster and co-owner with his wife Roxane, John Nielsen decided to spread his wings this year and chose to enter two of PBC’s most loved beers into the Australian International Beer Awards (AIBA) competition. Both of the award-winning beers were brewed and packaged at PBC’s production plant out by the Prescott Airport, which began production in 2011. These two beers are recently joined by Palepricot Pale Ale, Manzanita Red and Lodgepole light also now available in canned packaging. They can be purchased at the brewpub downtown at 130 W. Gurley Street inside Bashford Courts Atrium Mall, and at select independent liquor stores, Trader Joes, Whole Foods, Sprouts Markets, and some of the big box grocery stores and liquor megastores in the valley and throughout AZ.

“Thank you Prescott for supporting us since 1994, helping us to grow and continue to be a part of this amazing community “ says co-owner Roxane Nielsen. John Nielsen adds “we hope to continue to be recognized throughout the state, country and even more internationally, as we pursue our quest for longevity, consistency and commitment to the craft beer revolution”


The Arizona Craft Brewers Guild has raised over $60,000 for the families of the fallen Yarnell Hotshot Crew.

The special collabrew, put together by 37 breweries(all members of the Arizona Craft Brewers Guild). The American Brown Ale was distributed to breweries, bars, restaurants and specialty grocery stores across the state of Arizona. The response from the community was overwhelming. Once the keg of “Heroes 19” was tapped at each individual location, it often sold out in just a few hours. Places like BevMo in Glendale had lines out the door, when they tapped the beer. Breweries like Mudshark Brewing Company in Lake Havasu, BJs Brewing Company(all Arizona locations) and SanTan Brewing Company in Chandler raised additional funds through food sales, raffles and donations for the families of the fallen. All funds will be donated to the Prescott Firefighter Charities in which 100&% of the proceeds will be given to the families of the fallen 19 heroes that were lost on June 30th, 2013. To the left are pictures of the check presentation. The check was donated to the Prescott Firefighter charities on September 17th at the Four Peaks Brewing Company in Tempe.


  • Prescott Brewing Company sold 11 barrels - 22 kegs….341 gallons of “Heroes 19” in just 10 days
  • SanTan Brewing Company went through 5 kegs in 3 hours
  • BevMo had a line out their door, two hours prior to the keg being tapped.
  • Tap and Bottle in Tucson sold out in just a few hours
  • Sleepy Dog Tap and Grill held an event with raffles, live band Gilber firefighters
  • BJs Brewing Company donated 20% of food sales on the day their brew was tapped(at all AZ locations). Sold out of beer in one day
  • That Brewing Company in Pine sold out in Four Hours
  • Lumberyard and Beaver Street Brewing Company sold all their “Heroes 19” in one weekend
  • Firefighters from across the state came out to support the events held at breweries, bars and restaurants. The community came out to thank the firefighters that were there and support the families of the fallen.
  • The Arizona Craft Brewers Guild has been overwhelmed with the response of the community and appreciates all the donations. In addition to the beer sold, the guild raised over $1,000 through virtual pints on their website,

Background on Heroes 19 and Arizona Craft Brewers Guild:
Heroes 19 was brewed at Prescott Brewing Company on July 19th. It is an American Brown Ale and a 19 on the color scale. The 37 breweries that make up the Arizona Craft Brewers Guild donated 19 different hops, time and supplies to make the special brew happen. The beer was then distributed by Hensley Beverage Company across the state of Arizona. 100% of the proceeds were donated to Prescott Firefighter Charities.

The Arizona Craft Brewers Guild was established in 1998 and represents 37 microbreweries across the state. The guild promotes the craft brewing industry in Arizona by providing educational opportunities to brewers, distributors and consumers while endorsing quality craft beers and the responsible consumption of these products.


Downtown fixture Prescott Brewing Company® going strong at 20 years

1/10/2014 6:00:00 AM - Matt Hinshaw/The Daily Courier

PRESCOTT - Located in the Bashford Courts building across from the courthouse plaza sits Prescott Brewing Company®, one of downtown Prescott's longtime local eateries.

The micro-brew pub first opened its doors to customers 20 years ago in March - on the Ides of March to be precise.

For owners John and Roxane Nielsen, the date proved to be a lucky one.

"People we met in town told us not to open on March 15. It's bad luck. I said, 'You know what? We're going to open on March 15 and prove everyone wrong,'" said Roxane Nielsen.

Twenty years later, downtown's Prescott Brewing Company® remains strong, with 70 employees, and a production facility located near the airport for beer distribution. The facility kegs and cans their liquid amber and ponderosa IPA brands, which are then distributed throughout the state. The restaurant is located at 130 W. Gurley Street.

The restaurant, known as a brewpub, features a full-service restaurant and microbrewery. Chef Rob Bridges runs the kitchen and often incorporates appropriate brews into his culinary creations.

With the exception of the children's menu, everything at the restaurant is made from scratch, hand-formed and handmade.

"A lot of our standard menu items are made with beer and a lot of our specials, especially, are cooked with beer," Roxane Nielsen said.

"We took the philosophy of using all natural ingredients in the beer into the kitchen and use all natural ingredients," John Nielsen said.

The Menu

Customer favorites include fish and chips and bangers and mash, as well as a number of items from both their regular menu and their pub bites menu. A look at the rich menu reveals handmade pizza selections, battered dishes, wrap selection like their new Buffalo Chicken Caesar Wrap, Brew Kettle soups and chili, desserts like Gramm's "Comfortable" Peach Bread Pudding, a kid's menu, sandwiches and burgers, and other choices.

"We hand bread all our fish and make our own batters," said John Nielsen. "It's thin, like a tempura batter, with Panko bread crumbs, which gives it a nice light crust."

Other menu items include starters including Prescott Pretzels, Oro Frita Artichoke Hearts, Montezuma fingers and more. Regular menu items include the bangers and mash, featuring English-style banger sausages made in hand-crafted ale, and delivered with garlic mashed potatoes and Dijon gravy, beer mustard made in-house, beer bread and a side of hot applesauce. Other menu items include the Settler's Pot Pie, with tomatoes, mushrooms, carrots, yams, artichoke hearts, Mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses, and baked with fresh herbs in a mushroom sauce.

Besides other specials, such as prime rib on Friday nights and their pitcher of beer and pizza on Wednesday nights, Prescott Brewing Company® also offers monthly specials. In January, the restaurant offers "Chili Month" meals, featuring Classic Cincinnati 5-Way Chili through Saturday, with turkey chili on tap for next week. The following week, Jan. 19-25, diners can find Texas Rib eye Chili, followed by 3-Bean Vegetarian Chili the week after.

"In June we do barbecue month, then in November we do sausage month. It's the same concept as chili month," John Nielsen said.


PBC® off-site production facility out by the Prescott airport went into operation in December of 2011 was publicly christened with an Open House celebration in May of 2012 and is now up and running full steam ahead. In addition to Liquid Amber Ale and Ponderosa IPA in cans and kegs being increasingly available statewide, we launched Lodgepole Light Cream Ale, Petrified Porter, Achocolypse, and Christmas City Ale in draft form during the latter half of 2013. With a new Brite Tank on the way, we’ll be able to diversify our selection on the open market even further this year. If your favorite liquor store, restaurant, tavern, bar, grocery store or pub doesn’t carry our beer…. let them know you want it! And you want it NOW!


It's Beer O'Clock in Northern Arizona - October 2010

Beer isn't just for frat boys and rednecks anymore. Check out Sedona Monthly's definitive list of Northern Arizona's microbreweries.

beerandglassOne of the things we love the most about Prescott Brewing Company® is the brewpub’s walls, which are covered with more than 4,500 cardboard coasters from pubs and bars all over the world. We also love the fact that owners John and Roxane Nielsen have an Excel spreadsheet that catalogs each coaster. Of course, it’s the brewery’s beers that really shine, earning the seven-barrel brewhouse 27 medals since it opened for business in March 1994.

The Ranking Arizona business poll has also named Prescott Brewing the No. 1 microbrewery in the state for three years. You can tell John is proud of his success, but don’t ask him to chose a favorite from his 52 beer recipes.

“That’s like asking me which child I love the most,” he says, laughing.

Before owning the brewery, John was a test technician for Lockheed Missiles and Space Co. in Northern California. He fell in love with beer while stationed in Germany during a stint in the Army, and he became a devout home brewer. A visit to a local microbrewery in the early 1980s made him start thinking about a second career, and he and Roxane began visiting brewpubs. John started entering his home brew in competitions around the country, and he attended Chicago’s Siebel Institute of Technology – the oldest brewing college in the U.S. – and University of California, Davis. By the early 1990s, when Roxane’s son started attending Northern Arizona University, the husband and wife decided they were ready to go into business and get out of California, and they began looking for sites in Arizona. They settled on a 110-year-old building across the street from Prescott’s Courthouse Square.

John started with four styles of beer, all of which are still served today: Lodgepole Light, Liquid Amber Ale, Prescott Pale Ale and Petrified Porter. At any given time, the brewpub offers six to 11 Prescott Brewing Company® beers on tap. John, who develops all the recipes and employs two brewers, says he favors classic beer styles. (That doesn’t mean the brewers don’t like to have fun – during our visit they were serving up a chocolate porter.) The brewpub’s most popular is the Liquid Amber Ale, which they began canning and distributing in spring 2009 at a 2,800-square-foot warehouse less than one mile from the brewpub. The brew is sold online, in Phoenix and, as of last month, at liquor stores in Sedona and Flagstaff. PBC brews three to four days each week.

While the Liquid Amber may be the most popular, the Raven Maniac Stout seems to have garnered a cult following. The winter imperial stout is 9 percent alcohol by volume and has a licorice and currant taste. “We like to say if you drink enough, you’ll turn into a raving maniac,” says John. When the seasonal brew is ready, Prescott Brewing flies a flag that reads, “The Raven has landed” above the brewery. Within five minutes, says Roxane, the entire town knows about it.

The menu at the 250-seat brewpub doesn’t read like your typical pub menu, either. Most of the items are made from scratch and some are made using PBC’s® own beers like the Blue Mussels Steamed in Cream Ale. And the ambience of the pub is as unique as its 1903 maple floors. When you sit at the bar, you’re next to glass windows that look down into the brewhouse. A spiral staircase allows the brewers easy access from the brewhouse to the bar. The lower dining room has windows that look into the boutique shopping mall that houses the brewpub while from the upstairs dining room diners have great views of Prescott Courthouse Square.

~Erika Ayn Finch

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