This evening I had occasion to visit the 5-days-old Alosta Brewing in Covina, CA. They are Covina’s first microbrewery. (Nearby West Covina features a BJ’s that used to be a prominent brewing location for the company and remains licensed as a brewpub.) The opening process for the fledgling outfit has been long and painstaking, requiring a mid-game switch in locations, much negotiating, and a lot of waiting. After all, though, they are open for business and report a very successful first week so far. At least two local brewers were in the tap room sampling Alosta’s beer when I arrived.
Current offerings include a blonde, a British pale, a strong British pale, and a brown porter. Upcoming are an oatmeal stout and a saison. The brewers/owners include members of the Crown of the Valley Brewing Society, a homebrewing organization in operation since 1988.
While I stood in the tasting room, a call came in from a nearby pub requesting another keg of the blonde ale. In minutes, a keg was loaded and ready to move. “We can deliver a keg faster than we would be able to get a pizza,” one of the owners exclaimed.
In California, brewers can sell their beer to retail licensees directly without limit. Many states either do not allow this at all, or place caps on the amount of beer that can be self-distributed.
For a brewery just starting up, the ability to be immediately responsive to local retailers seems like an important benefit. As a brewery grows, self-distribution becomes less efficient. But in moments like the one I witnessed, it means the just-opened brewery’s beer can remain on tap through a busy Saturday evening at a popular pub with many great craft tap handles.