Around this time last spring, the thought entered Scott Francis’ mind while he was watching a baseball game at Dodger Stadium.
Santa Monica Brew Works hadn’t sold any beer — it hadn’t even opened its doors or begun brewing — but the thought was too perfect for Francis to keep to himself.
“I turned to the guy I was with and said, ‘In one year, our beer is going to be in the stadium,'” recalled Francis, the brewery’s president and CEO. “I want to be able to drink my own beer during the game.”
Perhaps it didn’t sound realistic at the time, but lo and behold: It’s Opening Day for the Dodgers against the San Diego Padres this afternoon, and fans can flock to the Loge level on the first- and third-base sides of the diamond for some Santa Monica-produced suds.
The stadium will feature the local company’s Wit beer, a Belgian-style white variety that Francis said will be available on tap all season.
“It’s anybody’s guess how much beer will be sold, but we can handle the production,” said Francis, a proud Dodgers fan who shares season tickets. “What the Dodgers did was great — they’re highlighting several craft breweries. … It’s nice when good things happen.”
The availability of Santa Monica Brew Works beer at one of the region’s most well-known sports venues marks a major moment in the quiet but rapid growth of the Colorado Avenue business.
Francis, longtime friend Richard Super and former Ye Olde King’s Head bartender Carl Sharpley saw an opportunity to fill a void in Santa Monica with locally produced beer. Super is the vice president of sales and marketing; Sharpley is the director of sales and distribution.
Also on board are two brewers, including Santa Monica native Drew Pomatti.
“Everyone who works here, almost all of us have lived in Santa Monica or live here now,” Francis said. “We love this city very much. It’s very special to us, and we decided to make great beer in the city we love.”
Santa Monica Brew Works opened last May, started brewing in June and released its first batches of beer in early July. Since then, the principals have ushered their product into about 125 bars, restaurants and hotels, including several local establishments. Their beer is also on tap at Los Angeles International Airport.
According to Francis, the company was invited to have its beer sold at Dodger Stadium after a successful partnership at The Forum in Inglewood.
But the expansion doesn’t stop there. Santa Monica Brew Works expects to be bottling by early summer, and it plans to introduce two more styles over the next three months.
The forthcoming beers will join a list of offerings that already includes the aforementioned Wit variety as well as XPA (an extra-pale ale) and PCH — a nod to the beachside highway and an acronym for Pale Chocolate Heaven — which is made with cacao nibs and vanilla beans.
Santa Monica Brew Works doesn’t currently have a tasting room, but Francis said his company’s beers have been well-received in town.
“It’s a tourist hub, it’s a business hub and it’s one of the most beautiful cities in the world,” he said. “My gosh, what a great place to work. It’s got a great community atmosphere.”
Contact Jeff Goodman at 310-573-8351, firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter.