(PRESS RELEASE) LAS VEGAS (May 1, 2023) – Ellis Island Hotel & Casino regrets to announce the passing of long-time and beloved Brewmaster, Joseph Pickett. A pivotal figure and contributor to the success of Ellis Island’s Brewery, Pickett leaves behind a legacy that will live on far beyond the city. 

“Joe was truly instrumental in putting the Ellis Island Brewery on the map,” said Gary Ellis, CEO and owner of Ellis Island Hotel and Casino. “Joe played a critical part in the building of our brewery at Ellis Island and in creating our beer portfolio.  I can’t begin to express my gratitude for him, his work, and his decades of friendship.  Everyone at Ellis Island sends their heartfelt condolences to Joe’s family and to everyone whose lives he touched.”

Pickett was introduced to Ellis Island Casino back in the 1990s, when he was working in Chicago and surrounding areas. He started consulting with the iconic Las Vegas hotel and casino, but was named Ellis Island’s Brewmaster in 1998 when the brewery was established. There he launched the famous Ellis Island core beers of Lager, Light Lager, Amber Ale, IPA, Hefeweizen, Stout, as well as a Root Beer brewed with 12 secret herbs and spices. Under Pickett’s oversight, Ellis Island Brewery became the largest brewpub in the Mountain West region, quickly realizing sales of a million glasses of beer a year, which continued to grow.

Pickett also helped establish the legacy of the Ellis Family Holiday Nog, transforming a small-batch handwritten recipe into a full-scale production, cracking 7,000 eggs and opening 450 liters of premium liquor in its first run.

A Chicago native, Joe started his first job in a brewery in 1956, at the age of 14. He attended the Illinois Institute of Technology and Siegel Institute of Technology for advance training in brewing. Following graduation, he became an instructor and eventually VP of the Siegel Institute of Technology Brewing School. Joe also worked in senior management at Pabst Brewing Co. and G Heileman Brewing Co. Pickett’s brewing career took him all over the world, from one of the oldest microbreweries in America in Amana, Iowa to operations in Australia and China. “In fact, I’ve been everywhere but Antarctica,” he once said.

As an integral part of Ellis Island’s history, Pickett’s legacy will continue to live on through every pint poured and with every bottle of Nog enjoyed. The Ellis Island team is forever thankful for Joe! 

For more information, visit www.ellisislandcasino.com. Follow Ellis Island on Instagram at @elliscasinolv and on Facebook at @EllisIslandLV. 

About Ellis Island Hotel & Casino 

Ellis Island Hotel & Casino is home to some of Las Vegas’ most recognized food, beverages and entertainment. Its commitment to quality and service has been a tradition for over 50 years. The hotel features wonderful amenities, including a 24-hour restaurant with a famed steak special, barbecue restaurant and karaoke lounge, Metro Pizza, Via Focaccia by Chef Ismaele Romano, and indoor-outdoor beer garden The Front Yard. The casino offers hundreds of gaming devices including reel slots, video poker and keno. Live blackjack, roulette, craps and sports book wagering is available seven days a week. Conveniently located one block east of the Las Vegas Strip on Koval Lane behind Bally’s, Ellis Island is a must-see destination for every Las Vegas visitor and local. Ellis Island won Best of Las Vegas 2022 in several categories, including gold for Table Games, Karaoke, Microbrewery, Cheap Eats, and BBQ, and silver for the Brunch and Outdoor Dining.