Name: Cooley A. Butler
Where you work:
What you do: Own and manage Luminous Brewhouse
Where did you grow up?
Born in Sheridan and graduated from Big Horn High School in 2000.
If you attended college, where and what did you study?
A year at St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota, wanting to teach music or play music as a profession. A quality music school well known for their outstanding education. Being that serious about music took most of my passion out playing or teaching it. It was a sad and tough decision to just take a break and decide what I wanted to do.
How did Luminous Brewhouse come to be?
My previous partner Seth Orr and I had a goofy conversation that was just a joke, ‘we drink enough beer, lets start a brewery!’ kind of comment. We were both homebrewers and enjoyed doing it and loved the thought of making money with what we are passionate about. We started really small behind a restaurant at 201 Broadway St and hone our skills and quality of product and gradually upgraded our production equipment to be able to make more beer. We decided that to do so, we needed a location that would be able to accommodate the 10BBL production system we were planning on getting.
After looking for more than a year we found a great retail building at 504 Broadway St. and had almost everything that we needed. A bit deceptive looking at it from the outside, the building has about 4,200 sq. ft. on the main floor and 4,000 in the basement. It was a lot of work to say the least about opening at our new location but it was well worth it. We now have a great taproom and enough room to continue to grow our production of beer. Another big benefit if just having our own spot. At our old location, we were working with the restaurants to serve our beer, just felt really disconnected from hanging out with our customers.
Why did you choose Sheridan as the place to set down roots both as a business owner and as a family?
My wife, Megan, and I grew up here and have lived in some other places and decided that Sheridan was our home for so many reasons. Family, friends, safe community, outdoors galore, and also decided to be a part of making changes here. There are really cool areas everywhere, but none of them really felt like home. I think there are more young people and families that are really trying to make changes here in Sheridan. I’m really excited to see what happens with all that is going on!
Luminous has worked to provide a lot of music in the taproom. Why?
I am still passionate about live music and there is so much amazing talent in our area. We love to nurture and grow that local talent. We are trying to be a place that always has great music to listen to and to play at. Having Open Mic on Thursdays at 7:30 has helped develop a lot of musicians and groups of all ages. That ideal spot where people can get up and try anything and still receive lots of support from the listeners and other players helps reinforce people that just play at home.
I think that Sheridan is fond of live music too. We hope to be a growing live music venue for our area with solo artists, small groups, and larger well known groups in the future. I think we are well on the path to that goal.
Besides providing a great product, we are trying different ways to keep out customers entertained to stay here for longer or to come to our establishment if they otherwise wouldn’t. I think live music is great entertainment and provides a warm welcoming environment to help achieve that goal as well.
One thing folks love about Luminous is that they can come down, have a beer and bring their kids. Why was that important to you?
A family friendly environment was very a very important factor in our planning at our new location. We have two kids and there are many other families that have the same situation where it is a bit difficult to have a place to go hang out with your kids and have fun. It is a unique niche that I think was not really recognized and that I have experienced myself. We have lots of games and beverages besides beer to drink, our most popular is the root beer that we make.
With being family friendly, we can host many different types of events that we otherwise wouldn’t be able to. From baby showers, graduation parties, youth sports/activities fundraising, etc. Hoping to be a little unique change from a normal understanding of ‘just a bar’ is what we are working toward. Some of the bands love playing here is because all their family young and old can comfortably come and listen.
Sheridan County has a ton of nonprofits. Are there any causes that are particularly near and dear to your heart? Why?
Anything that helps develop outdoor activities is what I enjoy most. Probably because of an outdoor active family that loves to have more things to do. Also groups that do amazing things, Habitat for Humanity, Advocacy & Resource Center, and Sheridan Community Land Trust are great examples among the many events that we host.
Living in a small town has its quirks. What are your favorite and least favorite things about it?
Hmmm, a big family and a big family! Lots of family and friends that are here to support us personally and the brewery. Huge support is the biggest reason to start a brewery in Sheridan. Always welcoming, friendly, and supportive. I do miss sometimes being anonymous around larger towns or cities but can go visit there when I want to. I love the outdoors and the quietness bout exploring the mountains. It is rarely congested with other people. I enjoy the quiet enjoyment as a relief from the busy days of a family and brewery.