Karl Koth and Sam Papendick are two old friends with shared passions for microbrewing and for keeping things local. The two grew up in Rapid City and reconnected after they finished college. Both also had taken up homebrewing in their spare time and eventually decided to collaborate, opening up Hay Camp Brewery in January 2014.
The pair opened up a shop in an old garage at the Fairmont Creamery in town. For the sake of keeping things local, they named it “Hay Camp” for Rapid City’s original name in the 1800s. Their first space was intimate and a little cozy, seating about 30 people at a time.
“Some of the big limitations we had in the old spot were visibility. We were kind of tucked back away from the road,” said Papendick. “From a production standpoint, the brewing equipment was integrated into the taproom, so we had our brewhouse behind the bar. Making beer and selling beer on the same day was a nightmare for us. When our lease was up at the Creamery, we knew we needed to move and address some of those issues.”
They were itching to move when they came across an old Cadillac and Oldsmobile dealership built in 1948 that had most recently served as a laundry facility for Rapid City Regional Hospital. They were interested in the space and its art deco style, and they were excited to try out a multi-business concept Papendick had seen work in other cities.
“We thought that the building was a really good fit for us, and all the space was indicating that we needed to make use of it,” recalled Papendick. “The Source in Denver does this multi-business under one roof, so they have a brewery down there and a butcher shop and restaurants. We thought that was a cool concept and a good way to make use of such a large building.”
Fitting into this multi-business along with their brewery is Mothership Coffee and Commons, a coffee shop and common area with lots of natural light to draw people into the space, and new local artists featured each season. All the coffee comes from South Dakota roasters, like The Breaks Coffee Roasting Co., Pure Bean, and Essence of Coffee.
“The Mothership is being transformed into more of a conference space or morning meeting room. We’re going to quit doing a coffee shop every morning and go for more of a privately booked space,” said Papendick. “We’ve got a really great storefront, why not put local artists on the walls?”
The two are also working on a new music venue and private event space, Ursa Major Musical Monument. The space will have a National Park theme to fit the surrounding environment. The first show at Ursa Major will be touring band Best Coast on September 20.
“(Best Coast) will be our kickoff show, and then we’ll be booking things after that. For the music, we’re featuring touring bands, people that are coming through Rapid City that are connecting between (other cities),” said Papendick. “(Ursa Major) can be used primarily for concerts, but also wedding receptions, conferences, I guess really any private event can go in there.”
Papendick said that the space could also use a restaurant, but they’ve been hosting food trucks to complement the brewery crowd for the time being.
“The idea was to have a restaurant that would complement the coffee shop in the morning, and then the brewery for lunch and dinner, and that would also be able to cater into the event space,” he explained. “Hopefully we’ll be able to attract a restaurant or somebody who’s into local food and stuff that pairs really well with craft beer.”
Above all, Papendick and Koth want to keep things local. Papendick said their motto is “craft your community,” and that’s all he hopes to do with this new space.
“We’re all about featuring local products. We have local artists on display in the Coffee and Commons, we’re doing all South Dakota-roasted coffee and tea, and we make all our own beer and serve only our beer,” he said. “It’s all about supporting small, local businesses.”