Thursday, July 26, 2012

Craft Beer-trepreneurs

I'm sure I'm not the only craft beer drinker that has an ambition or fantasy to one day open a brewery or pub.  I recently read two articles on new breweries, one that made the thought of opening a brewery seem daunting and financially frightening, and one that made it seem downright enjoyable, almost a game alchemy. 

A few Sundays ago, the LA Times profiled Torrance brewery Strand Brewing Co.  I'll admit that after reading the article I didn't want to run out and start a brewery.  Far from it, but after reading the article, I had an admiration for its founders' work ethic and persistence.  The passage below is almost nightmarish:

Joel Elliott and Rich Marcello built Strand Brewing Co. in a tiny space at a Torrance industrial park by working 100-hour weeks for three years, without vacation or pay or employees.

They borrowed money from relatives and friends. Then they hit them up again, and again, and again. They tapped out their own credit cards.

There is a happy ending so far:

Sales nearly tripled the second year to $309,000 and are on pace to hit $750,000 in 2012. The partners hired their first employee in April, an assistant brewer, and have signed with a distributor, Wine Warehouse — freeing Marcello from making every sale and delivering every keg from his van.
According to the article, Strand has more than 200 accounts, and last weekend I saw Strand's pale ale on tap at Ocean Beach Pizza Port, so that's a good sign for the young brewery.

Then I read this blog post by Brandon Hernandez on Rip Current Brewing, and its founders, Paul Sangster and Guy Shobe, sound like they are having way too much fun.  I assume they're having fun - they have to be - if they're taking the time to play chemist and change water properties to adjust to beer styles:

Shobe notes that San Diego water isn’t optimal for making stouts because it is high in calcium and sulfides, which are great when brewing IPAs and hoppy red ales, but do not sync up well with malt-forward brews. Hard water doesn’t work well with the astringency of malts. So, in order to optimize the water for a stout, the duo will up the chloride so it’s present in higher quantities and forms a better chloride-to-sulfide ratio.
Rip Current's tasting room looks well appointed, and it expects a fall opening. 

I realize I'll probably never start a brewery, heck I've never even tried to brew a batch of beer, but it's a fun thought.  I wish both Strand and Rip Current well.  I know there will always be room for a brewery that can craft a decent beer.

1 comment:

Third Street Brewhouse said...

Give it a shot! Pick up a home brewing kit. Nothing more rewarding