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Santa Maria Sun / Biz Spotlight

The following article was posted on August 28th, 2013, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 14, Issue 25 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 14, Issue 25

Spotlight on: Santa Maria Brewing Company

Byron Moles, owner

BY TAMARA RAWSON


DRINK UP
Pictured is a cold, handcrafted beer brewed by Dan Hilker, the man known as the best brewer on the Central Coast.
PHOTO BY TAMARA RAWSON

Well-known brewmaster Dan Hilker of Nipomo and partner Byron Moles of Orcutt have expanded the production process of Santa Maria Brewing Company. Byron said they plan to take their top-quality craft beers that are old, German-style ales to the masses.

The business recently relocated from Cuyama Lane in Nipomo to Fairway Drive in Santa Maria, and a major, state-of-the-art brewing operation is underway. The Moles family has been working day and night to make it happen.

Keith—Moles’ father and the owner of Sunset Grill and Sunset Ridge Golf Course—is letting the brewery retail its beers through his business. The beer will be brewed on one side of the street and sold at the restaurant on the other side of the street.

“We’re very excited about this. We’ve got a tremendous response already. In conjunction with that, we’re going to remodel, and we will now be open in the evening,” Moles said.

“We’re located out in the middle of nowhere, so there aren’t any noise restrictions. Our kick-off date is Oct. 26. We will have five bands [and] a stage, and there are eight to 10 wineries that [will] participate. We’re looking to sell four to five thousand tickets,” he continued.

He said the brewery will officially be up and running on a permanent basis the first week of September.

“The brewery, up to this point, has really been Dan Hilker’s personality. It was kind of a local watering hole that not a whole lot of people knew about,” he said. “But it had a great reputation and he brewed great beers—he won state fairs with them, and [he] has a great product. And now we’re going to do some cool things with it, and take it to the masses.”

Hilker, the brewmaster, started the business in 1996, and Moles said it’s been his life-long passion; he’s brewed at his leisure and has been catering to a small market until now.

Moles said he used to own a golf shop right across the street from where the old Santa Maria Brewery was. Nine years ago, he and Hilkers made a deal that they would one day take the brewery to another level.

“We want to expand the brand, but we want to keep the hometown feel,” said Robert Strickland, Moles’ brother-in-law. “There’s name recognition with Santa Maria all across the United States.”

Moles said the company’s name is symbolic of Columbus’ vessel, the Santa Maria, and just like Columbus, who set sail to see the world, the men’s plan is to take the quality crafted brew worldwide.

Strickland and Moles said they agree the image they have as their logo is going to help them distribute their product all across the United 
States. Their hope is that people are going to feel like no matter where they are it’s their hometown beer, too.

“Santa Maria is known for its tri-tip barbecues, and Dan’s got a great palete when it comes to what beer should be paired with what food,” Moles said. “A lot of the information that we put out there will have suggestions like a lot of wines do.”

Moles said their image is all about quality, not quantity. Santa Maria Brewing Company has been quality driven and will remain this way.

He extends an invitation to all: “Come by the Sunset Ridge, stop in, and have a cold handcrafted beer by the best brewer on the Central Coast.”

The brewery is located at 1451 Fairway Drive, in Santa Maria.

For more information, visit santamariabrewingco.com.

 

Intern Tamara Rawson wrote this week’s Biz Spotlight. Information should be sent to the Sun via fax, e-mail, or mail.