Veteran Brewpub Adjusts its Business Model For 2018

A veteran brewpub in the Los Angeles area, TAPS Fish House & Brewery, decided not to rest on its laurels and instead find a new way to define itself by adding a production brewery and taproom for 2018.

It’s a drastic departure from the previous locations the Brea, California-based facility currently operates. The production brewery plans to make around 5,000 barrels in the first year — more than double what the brewpubs currently make — with the ability to produce nearly five times more in the space that is opening in Tustin, California. An on-site food truck will also create food for a 1,900-square-foot taproom.

“We have taken a serious look at the current marketplace and identified that a shifting consumer base is expressing desire for an elevated fast casual concept that is directly associated with great beer and great food served in a brewery environment,” said David Huls, TAPS’ director of brewery operations.

The new TAPS Brewery & Barrel Room will employ close to 30 at the new business: between eight and 15 in the tasting room, 5-10 in the brewery, and up to five in the food truck.

The biggest change logistically will be the ability for TAPS to distribute product locally and regionally starting in 2018, Huls said.

“Consumers have had very little access to our products if they live outside of a five-mile radius of one of our current restaurants in Southern California,” he added. “Very soon products that have been identified by our industry peers as some of the best examples of beer styles being produced locally, regionally, nationally, and globally will be available for purchase and consumption in their neighborhood stores, restaurants, and bars.”

Huls said growth is the plan and the team anticipates expanding the experience regionally and perhaps even nationally.

One change will be the scale TAPS creates its beers on, but Huls doesn’t foresee too many difficulties.

“Anytime you change brewing equipment, location, and system size you will likely have some adjustments to make,” he admitted. “We remain confident that the experience of our brewing team with various systems throughout our careers will allow us to overcome any immediate concerns.

“We actually anticipate providing an elevated level of product quality because the brewing systems being sourced will allow us abilities that have been unavailable with our previous systems.”

The brewery’s barrel-aged beer program will feature a dedicated barrel room and although both Ales and Lagers will be produced daily, there will be a focus on Lagers, which have won TAPS six GABF/World Beer Cup medals since 2015.

“This will be a modern, comfortable space for beer lovers with everything under one roof and an emphasis on the casual, fun and hip,” TAPS founder-proprietor Joe Manzella said of the new TAPS concept, which will also include a patio with a 12-seat fire pit, and multiple TVs and video games.

“We are beyond excited to provide our clientele with a new twist on the classic TAPS experience and to attract new fans,” added Manzella, who with his father and sister opened TAPS’ flagship location in 1999.

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