Two heavyweights of the SoCal brew scene battled it out over a week ago as the website Brewbound presented Brew Talks. OK, battle is overly harsh. It was more friendly banter about two competing ways to start and fund a brewery.
Meg Gill from Golden Road and Patrick Rue from The Bruery met on Meg’s home turf at Chloe’s, inside The Pub at Golden Road, to talk about the business of craft beer and share their insights on the respective paths they have taken to get them where they are today and where they’re going.
Both debaters defused the idea that there is one right way to starting a successful brewery . Especially here in Los Angeles. Rue’s road to building the brewery involved family loans and plowing profits back into the company, whereas Golden Road had the intent of planting a Los Angeles flagship brewery from the get-go.
Each person stressed the importance of knowing not only the type of beer you are passionate about, but also the price points and market for that type of beer. The Bruery focuses on high end beers with a small niche boutique feel which is why that even though their Orchard White beer was nearing standard bearer status, they decided to discontinue it and use that production time and money on 10 different beers instead of a lot of one beer.
Golden Road saw that their avenue would require much bigger economies of scale because they wanted to have their Point the Way and Hefeweizen on the shelves of every store. [They will soon be in Costco.] That means being able to ship a lot of beer very efficiently. As Gill noted, the larger stores “want local beer and they want it next month.” They can’t wait for the brewery to grow to fill their order.
Usually beer events focus on the hot new beer or cool new equipment that a brewery received. This Brew Talk went behind the scenes and back in time to give some perspective on two breweries that we enjoy visiting today.
Your Beer of the Week is a departure for El Segundo Brewing Co. Named Schot in Het Donker, it is a collaboration between the brewer, Rob Croxall, and chef Eric Hulme of the restaurant chain, Tender Greens. And it is not a hoppy beer at all. According to Tom Kelley from the brewery, it is El Segundo’s “first brew with a Belgian yeast strain!” Add in a classic Saison malt bill and a touch of local cherries which should match wonderfully with the menu at Tender Greens. It certainly is not a shot in the dark.
The 3rd Annual Brew at the LA Zoo (across the river from Golden Road) is fast approaching falling this year on Friday, August 9. From 6-10 pm for $45 pre-sale and $50 at the door, you get a night of California craft beers in the bucolic setting of the zoo, unless you have a fear of snakes. They have a new exhibit to view with your brew, LAIR- Living Amphibians, Invertebrates & Reptiles. So your Homework is to get in touch with your wild side.
Find more of Sean Inman’s writing on his blog, Beer Search Party.