Glendale-based and family-owned Throne Brewing Company has taken over Pizza People Pub in Downtown Phoenix, making it its third store since its March 2018 founding.
The new location at 1326 N. Central Avenue merged the two businesses into Throne Brewing & Pizza Kitchen with a soft opening on Aug. 3. It will keep the basics of the Pizza People Pub, including staff, while making a few modifications.
“It was a new acquisition, so it’s all new ownership, but our intentions weren’t to get rid of any staff,” owner Carlos Toma said.
“That’s why we’re kind of in a soft opening phase, instead of waiting for an outside sign and doing a little remodeling. We decided to do a soft opening because we know how important it is right now for people to have their jobs.
“We’re going to be expanding hours. And then the food menu that a lot of people came to love, like the scratch-made pizza and macaroni and cheeses, are all staying. From our Glendale location, we have developed some relationships in getting local spirits and local wines, so we’ll incorporate that for sure in the downtown location. Then the beers that they had, we’ll be replacing all those with Throne beers.”
Toma purchased the already-established Dubina Brewing, Glendale’s first locally owned brewery, in 2018 and renamed it. Things went well in Glendale, and he opened a second location in Peoria to focus on production in April 2020. With more space and a new canning line, Throne found its way into Sprouts, Whole Foods, AJ’s Fine Foods, Total Wine, Topgolf in Scottsdale and Gilbert, and, most recently, State Farm Stadium.
Many bars were shuttered due to COVID-19, and Toma said Throne was hit hard, but it survived on the increased production, to-go orders and a skeleton crew.
“When we took over our Peoria facility (in 2020), a lot of people saw that as the worst timing, but we were able to focus a lot on distribution,” Toma said. “A lot of corporate retail accounts that were usually a little harder to get into opened up to a lot of local breweries, and some reached out to us and made it more accessible to get into those accounts.”
When talking to the owner of Pizza People Pub, Toma said the acquisition seemed like a perfect way to expand to Downtown Phoenix. As for the pub, it agreed that this was the best decision for both parties.
“This decision was not taken lightly, and we are forever grateful for the warm welcome we received as we reopened the pub by everyone who has supported us through good times and bad,” Pizza People Pub said in a statement.
“Your loyalty and friendship to Pizza People Pub will not soon be forgotten. Now it is simply our time to pass the torch of this special place on to the good people of Throne Brewing. We believe this is a great fit for all of us downtown.
“Fear not, our delicious pizza and other menu favorites will still be available. Please stop in for a delicious pint of fresh, local beer and say hello to the new owner. We love you and say thank you for our time shared over the years.”
Throne’s fresh, local beer began as a side project more than 10 years ago, in a combined restaurant and convenience store with over 500 craft beers that Toma’s family owned in Downtown Phoenix. During that time, he started homebrewing to understand the process more and, while he calls himself “an amateur brewer at best,” he can step in for any of their brewers if needed.
While it no longer operates a convenience store, Throne is still a family business. Toma’s dad and brother help with packaging, canning and remodeling, and his mom and sister work with bookkeeping and accounting. Toma said they have mainly been working on getting licensing, permits and a new sign outside, and hope to have an official grand opening for Throne Brewing & Pizza Kitchen in around six weeks.