I went to a college baseball game at Dodger Stadium a few weeks ago and paid $15 for a beer. Needless to say, that was the only beer I drank and given that I was with my 3 year old who used the concourse as his personal race track, I could have used more. Compare that with the tap room at Progress Brewing, where $15 will get you 5 (!!!) of their Bronco Belgian Pale Ales, and you can see one of the reasons why owners Kevin and Diego are killing it at their tap room. But price alone isn’t the key to their success. They have nailed the market in other ways at their South El Monte brewery, which has been in the black since the first weekend they opened in 2013.
12 pack boxes make fantastic helmets for kids. My dad drank a ton of Meister Brau when I was little, so that was my helmet of choice. To pay him back for those helmets, I took him along with me to Coachella Valley Brewing Company. Due to unfortunate circumstances, David Humphrey, owner of Coachella Valley Brewing was unable to meet, but not all was not lost. Their tap room dude Devon gave us a tour, showed us a great time and humored my dad as he asked typically embarrassing dad questions (Does that mean that since I’m a dad, I too will embarrass my kids with my questions? Yes, yes it does). Rather than recount the tour, I interviewed my dad about his experience.
Plenty of kids start their baking career by congealing brownie mix with the incandescent bulb of an Easy-Bake Oven. If Hasbro gets to take credit for the ones who go pro, Mr. Beer's got the rights to Scott Stokes. The kit Scott's wife gave him a few years back has since turned into the 15 BBL brewhouse at his brewery, La Quinta Brewing Company, located in the lovely in winter but hellish in summer Palm Desert. I was fortunate to visit with Scott during the lovely winter, and he toured me through his 2 year old brewery, unfortunately there were no Mr. Beer sightings.
I love the hell out of my 3 year old. He is also a complete turd many times a day, but that’s the deal with toddlers. Recently, I have been taking him to the park for long stretches to decrease the time he is a turd to his newborn sister, and those excursions can last upwards of 3 hours. After that much time at the park, I’m basically ready to throw him into a ditch and let hobos raise him. So when Alastair and Jennifer of MacLeod Ale Brewing were gracious enough to spend some time with me one morning, I was astounded that they gave me 3 hours of their precious time to go through an absolute ton of information on their new brewery. In addition to being fantastic people and beer makers, with that kind of patience, they might have a future in toddler babysitting.
I bought a house in 2011 and our real estate agents weren’t the ones who found it. We knew exactly what we were looking for, could see all the listings and visit open houses on our own. Brewery real estate, on the other hand, is something a bit more complicated. There is zoning, size, access, utilities, parking, ceiling height, floor drains, HVAC, expansion potential, and on and on to worry about. Lucky for me, there is a local guy who does this for a living and was willing to give me an hour of his time. Mike Lanzarotta also owned a brewery in the late 80s and stays up on the local brewery scene, so he is a helluva resource.