There must be something to the idea of selling your house to build a craft brewery.
At least that seems to be the case in Rancho Cucamonga, where the origins of the recently opened Kings Brewing Co. have a remarkably similar storyline to those that led to the launch of Hamilton Family Brewery in 2014.
Founders of both local breweries sold their respective homes to build their new businesses. In the case of Josh and Crysten Hamilton, they sold their house, moved in with Crysten’s parents and raised enough capital to chase Josh’s dream. Now open for more than two years, their investment in Hamilton Family Brewery seems to have paid off.
The case of brothers Jeremiah and Demetrius Cooper is a bit different. They took ownership of their Pomona childhood home when their parents retired and moved away. That wasn’t enough, so they cashed in their 401ks and took out a sizable loan. They also launched a crowd-funding campaign to help fund the start-up, which unquestionably contributed to a strong opening day crowd on April 30. That, or the fact that the brewery is one of the few places in town that carries Dodger games on Time Warner Cable.
“We wanted to open big – not with just four or six taps like most new breweries when they open,” said Demetrius, who prefers to go simply by “D.”
Despite operating with a negative financial balance when they opened, the Coopers came charging out of the gates with 10 beers on tap. Two months later, brews were flowing from 20 taps. D says he and his brother hope to have 30 taps in operation soon. That means brewing a lot of different kinds of beer.
“We’re already doing some things that it takes some breweries a long time to do,” says D. Cooper. “Even though they won’t be ready for a while, we’ve already got some beers in bourbon barrels, which most breweries don’t even think about at this stage.”
More taps means more beer styles, but a smaller opportunity for visitors to truly gauge the overall quality with just one visit. That’s not a problem, because going to breweries is certainly not a personal sacrifice (especially when they have Dodger games on TV). Nevertheless, I was impressed with the quality of the products I sampled.
Most craft breweries take months and even years to work out the difficulties of moving from smaller home brewing equipment to much bigger commercial systems. The challenges are even more pronounced when brewing 10, 20 or even 30 different styles of beers.
The four beers I had were solid. Fans of hoppy West Coast IPAs might not be partial to the Juice Bomb IPA with its fruity aroma and very little bitterness, but it has plenty of flavor for both new and seasoned craft beer fans.
The Draw Bridge Double IPA is somewhat similar to the Juice Bomb, but a bit maltier. Still, a bit light for a DIPA. The Jensen Porter is roasty with hints of coffee, and the Biscocho Lechero Milk Stout was also very good. The list also includes beers brewed with Reese’s Pieces, pineapples, jalapenos and more, but not all in the same beer.