Paso's Firestone Walker to open pilot brewery in Los Angeles

jrobillard@thetribunenews.comSeptember 10, 2013 

Firestone Walker Brewing Co. in Paso Robles

JENNIFER ROBILLARD — jrobillard@thetribunenews.com

Firestone Walker Brewing Co. is planning another expansion — this time to Venice in Southern California.

The Paso Robles-based company has purchased two buildings to open a pilot brewery and taproom in the Los Angeles neighborhood. Down the line, food will also become part of the mix.

Firestone Walker views the location as a way to “establish a third leg along the coast” and share Paso Robles and the Central Coast with the Southern California craft beer community, co-founder Adam Firestone said.

“The idea is to be able to showcase some of what we are doing up here a little closer to home for those folks,” Firestone said. “There’s a lot of creative juices down there, and part of our success has always been listening to what the market and what the customers are interested in.”

There’ll also be “a small technology center,” in which Firestone Walker’s brewing technology can “serve as a resource for homebrewers and beer aficionados,” he said.

Firestone stressed that it would not be a satellite brewery or brewpub, but instead be a “perfect re-creation of our main brewery, just much smaller.”

Some marketing and sales operations will also be based there. Firestone Walker aims to open the new facility late next year.

The properties, a former Sizzler restaurant and a two-story office building, are on West Washington Boulevard near Lincoln Boulevard. Combined, they are 13,500 square feet.

When asked how much the company had invested in the location, Firestone said, “A lot. L.A. is sufferingly expensive.” He declined to elaborate.

In recent years, Firestone Walker has expanded its brewing operations and tasting room and opened the Taproom restaurant at the Paso Robles site. It also has a location in Buellton that includes a restaurant and bar as well as Barrelworks, the brewery’s barrel-aged and wild ale beer project.

The mid-sized brewery is ranked No. 20 in the nation for U.S. craft breweries in beer sales volume for 2012, according to the Brewers Association. Firestone said the brewery will produce about 140,000 barrels this year.

Firestone Walker was established in 1996 in Santa Barbara County and opened in Paso Robles in 2001.

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