A lengthy road trip through South Africa, Zimbabwe and Botswana. It’s hardly the everyday origin story for a brewery, but that’s where brothers Jeremy and Jeff DeConcini came up with the idea for a Tuscon, Arizona-based, road-racing-themed suds interest, MotoSonora Brewing. Originally conceived as a beer bar featuring the cream of the international ale-and-lager crop, it morphed into a production-based concept so the DeConcinis could control freshness and quality first-hand. Assisting them with that and guiding them through the wide-ranging aspects of the brewing industry is Port Brewing / The Lost Abbey founder and American brewing legend, Tomme Arthur.
“Tomme is a legend in the beer business, and when we first started talking about this, we were hesitant to approach him because he is at the top level of the craft beer world and we were just getting started,” recalls Jeremy, whose youth was spent looking up to his big brother and his college roommate, Tomme. “It would be like asking Keith Richards for help starting a garage band, but as we got further along we realized that, at a minimum we definitely needed his opinion whether or not our plan was sound or whether we were out of our minds for even considering it.”
The DeConcinis operate a real estate company with offices in San Diego and Tucson. As part of that work, Jeremy assisted numerous Miramar-area brewery owners. Doing so inspired him to move forward with his and his brother’s entrepreneurial idea. That foreign-borne concept will be brought to life close to home for the DeConcinis.
“Jeff and I grew up in Tucson, so it was a natural fit for us, but beyond that, I think Tucson is poised to be a great craft beer city,” says Jeremy. “The craft beer scene here is just starting to come into its own and I think craft beer culture is going to find a very good home in Tucson, so we are stoked to be a part of it.”
Despite the burgeoning rise of craft in Tucson, Jeremy says it’s still “Bud Light territory.” As such, MotoSonora’s offerings will include numerous easier-drinking beers augmented by a West Coast IPA (versions of which brewed at Carlsbad’s Rouleur Brewing are currently available in Tucson, Phoenix and Prescott, Arizona) and traditional beers brewed on a ten-barrel brewhouse, plus “cutting-edge stuff” produced on a half-barrel pilot system. Those apparatuses will be housed in MotoSonora’s 5,000-square-foot facility at 1015 South Park Avenue. Most of that space will be devoted to brewing, with 1,000 square feet reserved for a tasting room that will include a shaded outdoor beer garden with a bocce ball court and small, off-leash dog park area.
During development, Jeremy and Tomme (who is on-board as a founding partner) will travel back and forth from San Diego and Tucson, while Jeff will have his boots on the ground. The trio plans to bring on experienced brewers to handle brewery operations. The team also includes a fourth partner, Eric Thu, who serves as MotoSonora’s director of sustainability.
MotoSonora’s project team hopes to open its tasting room to the public by next January. The company’s production goal for year one will be 1,000 barrels, with the hope to ramp up to 3,500-5,000 barrels by year five. Beer will be kegged and canned, and eventual barrel-aged beers may make their way into bottles. Distribution for the brand is envisioned as statewide.