Written by Liz Chism
Curtis and I have been asked quite a few times over the years when we were going to expand. Our answer has always been that we've wanted to build a strong foundation defined by great beer (both clean and sour), great company culture created by amazing staff, and an aweome customer base. With a strong foundation, we could build upon it to make a lasting company.
This last year we have explored several options to make more beer and expand but nothing seemed to work out for the long term. Then while reading a West Coaster article just a week and a half ago (Friday afternoon March 9th) we saw that Finest Made's brewery/tasting room in Santee, CA was available as a turnkey brewery. After thinking it over, we called the broker and inquired further. He informed us there were two other offers on the table and if we were interested, we needed to look at it that afternoon.
It sounded too good to be true so we dropped what we were doing and went to go see it. It was beautiful. Almost brand new Glacier 7bbl, 3 vessel brewhouse with automation, (5) 30 bbl unitanks, (2) 15 bbl unitanks, (1) 7 bbl tank, and everything we would need to make more Council beer. I think my favorite part was the rakes in the mash tun! We revisited it the next day with some trusted advisers to take one more look at it. We placed an offer and an hour later, we got a call from the broker informing us our offer had been accepted.
Now, just over a week later, we have the keys! We bought the assets of Finest Made Ales (not their brand). We also simultaneously took over their lease (signed a new lease with the landlord). We are currently in the middle of transferring their ABC license and getting our TTB license and all the other paper work needed for opening a new location. Once we have that (which will probably take at least 60-90 days) we will open the tasting room. We wish the ownership of Finest Made Ales the best, it's always sad when a brewery doesn't make it.
We are excited to be able to make more beer. Most of the beer produced in our Santee brewery will be IPA's. We will be bringing in a mobile canner temporally until we can order our own to continue our rotating IPA can series. We will also be able to expand our ability to brew collaborations with others. We already have a couple collaborations lined up to brew and barrel-age there, and then eventually can. To clarify, this will be "clean" beer only (all wild yeasts and bacteria will stay in the Magic Factory).
We are also excited to have another tasting room where conversations can be had, relationships can be developed, and customers can turn into friends. We have always seen Council as a place to bring people together. We plan to keep a wide variety of styles on tap with a bigger emphasis on some more light/easy drinking beers such as our Lively Banter Blonde and our Spreckels Hefe. We're also bringing our extensive sour beer program to East County which will be a really unique differentiation for us, plus we will also have our Magic Booch-Kombucha on tap.
This opportunity feels like we've come full circle. We lived in Santee before starting Council Brewing and sold our house there to fund our current brewery and tasting room. Now we are back!