30 YEARS OF CRAFT BREWING: Artisan Brews & Food at Squatters Since 1989

-by Ted Scheffler

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When I first considered moving to Utah some 27 years ago - and came to Salt Lake City to scout out the place - I was under the impression that this was a “dry” state. So imagine my delight when I strolled a couple blocks from my hotel my first evening here, and happened upon a place called Squatters. The brew pub had already been open for three years when I discovered it in 1992, founded by original owners Peter Cole and Jeff Polychronis. Not only did I learn that night that Utah wasn’t a dry state, but that there was also some damned good beer being brewed here!


I would eventually go on to drink many a pint of craft beer at Squatters and got to know Jeff and Peter as friends. Since Squatters paved the way, many new brewpubs and craft breweries have opened in and around Salt Lake City, but there’s only one original Squatters. Much has changed since the first pints were poured 30 years ago, but through the years Squatters has remained committed to providing fresh, local craft beer and food in a warm and inviting atmosphere.

Squatters Craft Beers was and is a pioneer in the craft beer industry. A catalyst for the growth of the local beer industry that Utahns enjoy today, Squatters paved the way for the almost 30 craft breweries that are operating currently in our city.


Before starting their new business, Jeff and Peter took a yearlong road trip through the Pacific Northwest, sampling craft beer and soaking in brew pub culture in the mid-80s. When they returned to their home base, they decided that Salt Lake City was sorely lacking and happily went on to fill that void.

Prior to opening Squatters, Jeff Polychronis and Peter Cole worked in commercial real estate. And it might be hard to believe today, but the block of 300 South that Squatters is located on was considered pretty funky - not the best part of town, and some people thought they were crazy to open and eating/drinking establishment there.

But, since opening the original Squatters in 1989, the business has grown by leaps and bounds, with brew pub locations in Salt Lake City, Park City and at the Salt Lake International Airport. Squatters beers can be found at most bars and many restaurants in the city, in addition to being sold at grocery, DABC stores, and at the West Side Tavern & Cold Beer Store.