Dust Bowl Prepares to Celebrate 15 Years

Don Oliver and Brett Tate at Dust Bowl's first bottling day in May of 2009. Photo courtesy Dust Bowl Brewing

Established in May 2009 when it first brewed its well-known flagship Hops of Wrath IPA, Turlock’s Dust Bowl Brewing Company is set to celebrate its 15th Anniversary this May. After a decade and a half of growth, the Central Valley craft beer innovator has a lineup of promotions and parties to recognize the milestone and say cheers to its dedicated beer fans.

“It’s hard to believe we’ve been at this for fifteen years,” shares Founder and Owner, Brett Tate. “So much has changed for our brewery as well as the Central Valley craft beer industry since we first started brewing in ’09. I was literally a door-to-door salesman visiting local bars, dropping off our bottled samples of Hops of Wrath IPA, trying to establish our brand and secure sales one tap at a time. It was a hard sell in the beginning. There was no craft beer scene in our area at the time, so introducing an IPA was challenging. Most local beer fans hadn’t started to explore hoppy beers or craft beer in general.”

That all changed in 2011 with the opening of Dust Bowl’s first taproom.

“When we opened the taproom in Downtown Turlock in 2011, that was a huge turning point for us,” comments Brett Honore, who joined in business partnership with Tate in 2010. “We had 12 taps, so people started to understand that craft beer had so much more to offer than just IPAs. Craft beer really has something to offer every type of beer drinker. The taproom model allowed us to engage and educate the consumer, which is a mainstay in our business plan today.”

Dust Bowl Brewing Co. currently operates four taprooms in California. Its anchor taproom is in Turlock adjacent to the brewery, which opened in 2016 after outgrowing a small industrial space across town.

The Monterey taproom opened in 2019, followed by Elk Grove in late 2021 and then Livermore in June 2023. Collectively the taprooms serve nearly one million customers annually, which is a huge catalyst to growing the brand and sales outside of the taprooms.

Tate no longer needs to peddle the beers himself thanks to multiple wholesalers who distribute the Dust Bowl portfolio primarily in California, Northern Nevada, and parts of Arizona, Pennsylvania, Texas, Oklahoma and Vermont.

From its humble beginnings, Dust Bowl Brewing Co. now produces 17 year-round styles and a limited series, along with endless draft options to keep the curious taproom guest intrigued. In 2022*, Dust Bowl Brewing Co. produced over 22,000 barrels of beer, ranking it among the top 2% of craft breweries in California (#16/258 breweries) and nationally (#123/7,325). The company employs approximately 175 staff members across all taprooms, brewery, sales, marketing, and administrative.

“I’m proud to have been part of this journey from the beginning,” says Don Oliver, Brewmaster. “It has been a blessing working for two families who truly care about both their employees and the products that they produce. They have allowed us to embrace our creativity and invest in quality in order to grow the company and provide the types of beers our fans know and love.”

The brewery has garnered several accolades through the years including Brewery Partner of the Year by the National Beer Wholesalers Association in 2015, Regional Brewer Status by the Brewers Association with over 16,500 barrels of production in 2020, and Craft Brewery of the Year by the California State Fair Commercial Craft Beer Competition in 2022.

Dust Bowl has been recognized by the Brewers Association with numerous Craft Beer Marketing Awards for packaging design, video content, taproom design and marketing materials.

Tate adds, “We want to thank our hometown of Turlock, all the communities surrounding our taprooms and all the beer fans who purchase our products. Without you, we wouldn’t be where we are today. Come by and celebrate with us at your closest taproom on May 16.”

In honor of the anniversary, Dust Bowl Brewing Co. is releasing Triple Dry Hopped Therapist, a limited-edition Imperial IPA coming in at a bold 10.4% ABV and 100-plus IBUs for all of those who have come to love hoppy beers!

Beer fans can follow the brewery on Instagram @dustbowlbrewingco for all the anniversary festivities and promos. Anniversary Week will include daily taproom specials from May 13-16 all revolving around “15” (naturally) and wrap up with taproom parties, live music and giveaways at all taproom locations on May 16 kicking off at 5 p.m.

*2023 stats have not yet been released by the Brewers Association

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