In the realm of brewing and distilling, finely-crafted spirits and compelling conversations never cease to complement each other. 

This dynamic duo not only quenches our thirst but also stirs the depths of our souls, often leading us to gain a profound appreciation and understanding we had not previously experienced. Such an experience is emblematic of conversations with Zac Triemert, the visionary founder of Brickway Brewery and Distillery. 

Safe to say, Triemert has built a great company. For one, he stands as the owner of Nebraska’s largest distillery, a thriving establishment that has matured gracefully in over 10 years of operation. Furthermore, Brickway’s reputation extends far beyond Nebraska’s borders, with its beers and spirits stocking the shelves of restaurants, bars, liquor and grocery stores in six states and counting. 

Ironically, Triemert’s empire might not have come into existence if his founding partners at Lucky Bucket Brewing hadn’t decided that they could do it without him. However, in November 2022, the very same folks approached Triemert, requesting his leadership and return to the business. Triemert agreed on the condition of buying it. Despite their initial rejection, as of June 2023, Zac Triemert is now—once again—the proud owner of Lucky Bucket Brewing and Cut Spike Distillery. Talk about full circle, friends. 

At both the Old Market and La Vista locations, Triemert leads a team of 41 accomplished and devoted individuals who not only share his passion but also embrace his mission, imparting it to every guest they encounter. 

That mission is simple; in fact, can be summed up in three words: Celebrate, Commiserate, Commemorate. The idea is that it doesn’t matter what’s going on in your world—Brickway will be there for you. 

For Triemert, there’s been ample opportunity to drink to all three C’s in the past decade. But today, as you read, it is hoped that you raise your glass in commemoration. Here’s to a truly significant individual—Jerry Triemert—and the profound influence he had in shaping the mission behind his son’s remarkable legacy. 

After his father’s battle with pancreatic cancer, Triemert knew the first Christmas following his death was not going to be easy for anyone in the family. In hopes to raise spirits, Triemert came prepared with a homebrew in his father’s honor, naming it Jerry’s Pale Ale. 

The bottles of Jerry’s Pale Ale were the first of his homebrews to receive a label and little did he realize; they would be the last to be brewed within the walls of his home. He gave everyone two bottles—one to drink and one to save. 

“Some people laughed, some people cried, but I realized I changed the experience with that beer,” Triemert points out. After that Christmas, he knew he had to do everything in his power to keep creating moments like these. 

For context, Triemert had been homebrewing in college when Randy Hughes, Brewmaster for G. Heileman Brewing Company, walked into his microbiology club meeting on campus and showed pre-med students other ways they could apply their degrees, such as brewing and distilling. 

“I said, ‘I’m doing that!’” Triemert chuckles. However, when he graduated in 1997, even with degrees in both microbiology and the chemistry, Triemert couldn’t find a job in brewing. 

Microbreweries didn’t rise in popularity until the 1990s, and even at the turn of the century, there were barely over a thousand craft breweries in the United States. So, Triemert accepted a job as a microbiologist with Cargill, bringing him to Omaha, Nebraska, the place he now calls home. 

But after that family Christmas in 2000, Triemert was determined to find work as a brewer. He walked over to Upstream Brewing Company in the Old Market and applied to be their brewer, but they informed him they were already halfway through the hiring process with another candidate who had extensive experience in commercial brewing, and Triemert did not. 

As the tenacious person he is, Triemert said, “Well, hold on to my resume. I think I can add value to your company,” and then went on to befriend the new hire. 

After brewing with him for a few months, the new brewer decided the job wasn’t a good fit and told him the day he was planning to quit. On that day, Triemert was on Upstream’s doorstep, resume in hand. 

Yet, one fact remained the same. Triemert didn’t have any commercial brewing experience, and Upstream didn’t like that. Despite their hesitations, they gave him a chance: 90 days. If he could prove himself in 90 days, the position was his. 

“To do that, I had to quit my job as a microbiologist at Cargill,” Triemert explains, “and there was no going back if this didn’t work out.” 

As he deliberated, his mind kept traveling back to a visit home that he’d never forget. 

Triemert picked his father up from work and they headed to the bar. In shock, Triemert witnessed his father order a light beer. Maybe he wasn’t privy to all his father’s drinking habits, but he knew one thing for sure: his father did not drink light beer.

When Triemert asked what was wrong, his father put one hand on his stomach, winced ever so slightly, and explained the pain he was experiencing. Admittedly, he thought light beer might be easier on his stomach. 

“That’s when he went to the doctor; when I noticed he ordered a light beer,” Triemert reveals. “He fought a strong, yet quick fight, but it’s amazing how beer ties into all of it.” 

So, the decision was his: keep the steady science gig that boasted a competitive salary, reliable benefits, and his family’s faith in his sanity, or potentially be out of a job in 90 days. It’s clear now, he made the right decision. 

“My mom was disappointed,” Triemert confesses, “but she got over it when I started making vodka.” 

Throughout his six years with Upstream, he developed a passion for whiskey, and aspired to start Nebraska’s first distillery, post Prohibition. 

So, as one does, he moved to Scotland and enrolled in a double master’s in both brewing and distilling. One year later, upon his return, he realized there was no law in the Good Life that allowed for craft distilling. 

In 2006, after working countless hours with state legislators to write a bill, it finally passed. In 2007, Lucky Bucket and the Solis Distillery were born, and in 2008, the companies sold their first beer. Soon after that, everyone knew the Lucky Bucket. 

When Triemert was asked to leave Lucky Bucket in May of 2012, he started building wood and composite decks while fine tuning his next business plan—his own business plan. By December of 2013, he was hosting the grand opening of Brickway Brewery and Distillery. 

“When I started Brickway, I took all the things that worked well at Lucky Bucket and did them again,” Triemert states. “Then I looked at the things that didn’t work, and I completely changed them.” 

With a fresh start and a new brand, Triemert built Brickway into what it is today. In the distillery’s first year, roughly 2,600 bottles of liquor were sold, and in their ninth year, their volume increased to 86,000. Yet, he couldn’t have done it without his team.

“These guys are in it with their hearts. They roll up their sleeves and bust their butts showing up every day,” Triemert beams. “We wouldn’t be nearly as successful without them, and I’m so proud and fortunate that they’re so excited about what we’re doing.”

In true commemorative fashion, Brickway will be re-releasing Jerry’s Pale Ale. This batch will be the first ever to be made commercially, and the first to be shared with those who weren’t lucky enough to call Jerry Triemert family. 

“My dad’s been gone for 23 years,” Triemert reports. “I think it’s time.”