Pryor’s Fat Toad Brewing Co. will open its expanded brewery and brewpub Saturday at MidAmerica Industrial Park in Pryor.
In a way, it’s like they won the brewery lottery. They are moving from a one-barrel brewery to a 15-barrel brewery/brewpub without having to raise capital and look for investors.
The Oklahoma Ordinance Works Authority, also known as the MidAmerica Industrial Park, is helping get Fat Toad — the anchor tenant at the “The District” retail development — off the ground. There should be plenty of business when they open, as Google is across the street as well as numerous other companies.
Fat Toad is set to open its new facility to the public at 3 p.m. Saturday. They now have an authentic Italian wood-fired pizza oven for artisan pizzas and more.
Dave Miller has spent three years working with his neighbor and partner, Chris Harrison, initially in their garage, then at a brewery just a quarter-mile from their new place. They have dreamed of opening up a brewery together with their wives.
Breweries can serve as places to gather with family and friends, and the industry in Pryor draws plenty of out-of-towners.
“It’s really a neat thing because we meet people from around the country that we never would have met otherwise. (Visitors) immediately do what I used to do, which is look up where breweries or wineries are,” Miller said. “There’s a lot of people we get in that regard, but we get people that travel in from Kansas and Arkansas and the northeastern part of the state... on top of our locals, which is kind of our base. It’s really fun to see all these different groups come together over beer, pizza, friendship, you know, watching ball games on TV or whatever it is.”
Fat Toad’s previous location was small and served its purpose by getting beers to the people. But the old location did not have food, and due to that, kids really weren’t around. The new location is family-friendly and dog-friendly (as long as they are in the covered outside dining area).
Fat Toad offers a variety of beer styles that will quench a variety of taste buds. I was able to sample a few on my visit and enjoyed all of them. Our group liked the Blueberry Kolch. It was an easy drinker produced with local blueberries that was great for a hot day.
“We really keep an eye on the history of beer, and we have a passion for Belgium beers. You’ll notice we have a whitbier and a Saison, among others, and a Belgium pale ale, but we’re also current with the hazy IPA craze. Chris and I are passionate about throwing them, whatever flavors we can draw out of that beer and share with people who may not have tried that here locally,” Miller said.
They have purchased a canning line from Oklahoma City’s Stonecloud Brewing and plan on doing more self-distribution after they get that up and running. With six 15-barrel fermenters, they can produce lots of beer.
“We’re in a few places in Tulsa right now, but we’re really doubling down on that. We’ll be out in liquor stores, QuikTrips and convenience stores, that kind of thing. That’s really exciting for us is to get the word out to other cities who may not have been to Pryor to check out our brew, and that may entice them to come check us out.”
They have two chefs, Dustin Stewert and Danny Morrison, who have done their testing and research for the perfect pizza dough and for making nachos in a 600-plus-degree oven. During our visit, the dough was perfectly prepared as well as the sauce and toppings.
“Craft pizza and craft beer — it’s hard to beat that combination and there’s really nothing like that, handmade dough, in-house handmade sauce. The oven runs at 600, 700 degrees so it’s a fast turnaround in pizza and beer. This is something that would go over well, even in our small town. So that’s kind of where we arrived at — the pizza that we’re actually serving here along with appetizers, mushrooms, artichoke dip, focaccia bread, those kinds of things you can’t get everywhere. And we wanted to be a little bit unique with that,” Miller said.
The beer and food flow at Fat Toad, and there is plenty of space for outdoor activities at “The District.” Tulsa artist Matt Moffett has created some amazing pieces of artwork for them, including tile mosaics that cover metal poles with flowers and animals. He also created a metal bird sculpture at the center of it all. The large outdoor area is covered with sunscreens that flow like sails on a sailboat. It’s a great place to get the cornhole game out and enjoy the company and the fall weather.
As far as the brewery’s name, they wanted something fun that makes people smile and that is recognizable. Dave’s wife, Angela, came up with it.
“It’s just a happy, happy guy on that logo that makes people smile and makes us smile and makes you want to come out and visit us,” Miller said.
Fat Toad is only a 40-minute drive from Tulsa, and most of it is the highway. It’s a great way to get out of town and see how massive Google is and enjoy a short road trip with the family. True to their slogan of “friends, family, community,” they have made it a welcoming place to have a pint and a pizza.