Making Strides with Strand Brewing Co.

strand brewing co.

Strand translates in German as “The Beach,” which is the perfect brewery name for a location in Torrance, California near Manhattan Beach, Hermosa Beach and Redondo Beach.

“Our idea was to have something that connected our area and to be something that locals could call their own,” explained Rich Marcello, the co-owner of Strand Brewing Co. “Strand physically and socially connects to our community.”

When Marcello was approached about opening a brewery in 2009 there wasn’t a space, a name, brand or logo. “Almost zero money had been raised,” he said. “So, I promptly quit my winery job and jumped into the deep end!”

Marcello had a background in the restaurant and winery businesses. He began as a dishwasher at Chart House when he was 15 years old and ended up staying with the company long enough to manage some of Chart House’s restaurants. Like many college kids he worked his way throughout college bartending and ended up with a 10-year career, which he left for a family-owned winery in Paso Robles, California.

“You know, when we started Strand there weren’t many other manufacturing breweries in Los Angeles,” said Marcello. “We kind of had to pave the way a bit and the scene was just gaining traction. We felt our beers had to be extremely clean and accessible — approachable styles of beer that were fairly familiar and crafted in a way that made people want to drink more than one of them.”

What the brewery wanted to do was serve a product that would catch people immediately. They worked with their 24th Street Pale Ale for the entire first year, which Marchello believes would be unheard of today. “I felt we only had one shot to make a great first impression and to sway people from whatever they used to drink, and get them to start gravitating to something made locally instead.”

Marcello said by the end of Strand’s second year it had branched out to three constant beers, which are still the core lineup at the brewery almost five years later. Strand didn’t even have a taproom until 2012, which limited consumers to drinking beers in other restaurants and it didn’t start bottling until 2013.

“So that model has changed drastically for the breweries opening in our area today,” explained Marcello. “The new norm is that a brewery will start off with a retail taproom and within a few months may have as many as six to eight styles in the lineup.”

Today Strand is getting ready to move into its new location. “It’s long overdue and we are really looking forward to being able to stretch out a bit,” said Marcello. “Joel Elliott, the co-founder and Master Brewer, will be able to spread his wings at the new space and I’m really looking forward to seeing what he can do given the opportunity to push the envelope.”

With the new location Strand Brewing will be installing a new canning line which Marcello hopes will help the company to cross over into different sales avenues. “The most exciting part for me is that we finally have some space and the ability to maneuver, which opens up a blank canvas in so many ways,” he said. “We will also have the ability to have outside food trucks and the space to host larger private and corporate events.”

 

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