Mojave Brewing Company is a passion project and the ultimate dream for two former school teachers turned brew masters and business owners: John “Griff” Griffith, and his partner, Nate Carney.
Opening on Super Bowl Sunday and Groundhog Day – Feb. 2, 2020, two great beer-drinking days, Mojave Brewing Company was off and running for a stellar and exciting six weeks before the COVID lockdown changed the world. But according to Griff, Mojave is hanging on for better times and looks forward to a bustling and vibrant Water Street once the world normalizes.
Griff, a native of Michigan, first became interested in brewing after a stint in the Navy as a college student in Kalamazoo where he worked at a local coffee shop across the street from now world-famous Bells Brewing. “The brewers would stop by in the morning for coffee, which I freely gave in exchange for a pint of beer after my shift. We struck up a friendship and they taught me how to brew really good beer. It was magical,” said Griff.
While Griff went on to teach school for many years, he also became an avid home brewer. Griff and wife, Kristi, moved in 2000 to Las Vegas to start a family and where he accepted a teaching job at a local private school. Griff went on to teach math and science at two Clark County School District (CCSD) middle schools for several years, while the dream of owning and operating his own brewery grew more intense.
Nate, also an Army kid who was born in Iowa but lived all over the world, fell in love with beer-making in Germany while living there with his family. Like Griff, he moved to Henderson to teach school at CCSD and raise a family. Nate met Griff in 2018, and the two discovered their shared passion for brewing.
Independent of each other, the two had ironically looked at the same space for a possible brewery. Upon that discovery, Griff extended an invitation to Nate to join forces to make Mojave Brewing Company a reality. According to Griff, the decision to choose Water Street as home base is due in large part to the city’s receptiveness. “After making a phone call to the city in the morning, I was at city hall that same afternoon to discuss our plan. It felt right,” he said.
While cleverly named craft beers are Mojave’s signature, it’s also a place for families, according to Griff, who says kids are welcome.
“We allow folks to bring in food, and we love it when the kids are eating dinner or a snow cone from Purple Penguin next door while Mom and Dad enjoy a delicious beer for dessert. With Biscuits and Bourbon and Juan’s Flaming Fajitas in the ‘hood,’ we welcome the partnership and collaboration with our neighbors. And I can’t say enough about how welcoming the Lovelady family of Lovelady Brewing Company across the street has been to us,” said Griff. “Instead of treating us like competitors, they have been nothing but encouraging and helpful. We love the shared pioneering spirit of our entrepreneurial neighbors on Water Street. Another good reason to drink a good craft beer!”