Jordan family sells Pug Ryan’s Brewery in Dillon |

Jordan family sells Pug Ryan’s Brewery in Dillon

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Chris Locke, left, and John Jordan stand at the bar of Pug Ryan’s Brewery in Dillon on Monday, March 21. Jordan sold the business and building to Locke and will temporarily remain to brew during the transition.
Jefferson Geiger/Summit Daily News

John and Judy Jordan are no longer the owners of Pug Ryan’s Brewery in Dillon. The couple bought the brewpub from Travis and Annie Holton in 2017 and closed on the sale March 10.

Like the Holtons, the Jordans wanted to step away from the business yet keep it thriving in the right hands. John Jordan said it took a beating during the coronavirus pandemic, but he credits staff and regulars for keeping it alive. John Jordan said Pug Ryan’s is now doing better than they thought it would by the fifth year.

The new owner is Chris Locke. He saw the listing in July 2021 from the same business broker who helped him sell his glass company a year prior. Locke was essentially retired but found himself restless and wanted to do something beyond golfing and fishing. He told himself he wasn’t going to go back to work. Yet the listing stayed with him, and he realized it would be a good move.

Now a resident of Silverthorne, Locke lived in Louisville for 24 years. He wasn’t hugely familiar with Summit County — only passing through on the way to Craig for hunting trips — but he made several visits to have dinner and beer and became impressed with how friendly the area is and the skill at which the restaurant was able to handle busy Friday nights.

Locke spent roughly 15 years in the restaurant industry when he was younger, starting as a busboy and working up to bartender, host and assistant manager in restaurants in New York and Oregon. His brother is a chef and will help consult on Pug Ryan’s, too.

“I’ve always loved the business,” Locke said. “The whole time I’ve worked in restaurants, I always said I would own one at some point in time. Everybody told me I was crazy because restaurants can be very, very fickle and difficult, and here I am owning a restaurant 30 years later. It’s pretty incredible.”

His main business experience is in construction. He started his own glass and glazing company in 2008 during the recession, saying it was a great learning experience.

“If I can keep staff happy, if I can keep customers happy, if I can keep myself happy, then really that’s all that matters in my book,” Locke said. “I did that same thing with my old company.”

John Jordan, who has been in the brewing industry for 28 years, isn’t entirely sure what’s next for him. However, he will stick around for a few months to help with the transition.

“Judy and I spent five years getting Pug’s brand to where it is now, and we feel like it’s in a really good place,” John Jordan said. “I can’t walk away from five years of that and be, ‘See you guys later. Good luck.’ I want to stick around and help Chris out.”

Beers therefore won’t rapidly change, but Locke said he might explore seltzers, ciders or serving beer on nitrogen.

Lock also purchased the building where Pug Ryan’s is located, which houses other businesses, such as Affordable Music. He’s open to conversations with the town and tenants to see how he can use his construction background to spruce up the structure.

Locke will be in charge of Pug Ryan’s Tiki Bar at the Dillon Marina, as well. There was some debate on transferring the concessionaire agreement to Locke, with Mayor Carolyn Skowyra expressing dissatisfaction with its current status, but council ultimately voted to keep it with Pug Ryan’s through the previously agreed-upon date of Nov. 1, 2026.

Locke stressed that he’s receptive to suggestions for the menu and other items at the restaurant and Tiki bar. He said he has already met with locals for feedback and will also meet with town staff.

“I’m open to try to figure out what people want, what it takes to get there and if we can get there,” Locke said, “but I don’t know what all those answers are.”

Jefferson Geiger

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