Days before celebrating its 11th anniversary, Long Beach staple Beachwood Brewing announced a giant new expansion. They are debuting three new locations – a taproom, a pizza parlor, and a distillery, all set to open by the end of the year.
Beachwood is led by original brewmaster and co-owner Julian Shrago and co-founders Gabriel Gordon and Lena Perelman. They are well-known for their beautifully dank West Coast-style IPAs. We also recently ranked it as one of the 25 best places to drink craft beer in SoCal.
The first of the new locations will be Beachwood Brewing & Distilling, expected to open before the end of July. It will operate out of the former Liberation Brewing space in Bixby Knolls, the brewery-heavy section of northern Long Beach. According to Gordon, this location will primarily be used for distilling, while also serving beer brewed at the Beachwood breweries.
“Bixby kind of fell into our laps,” Gordon said. “We love being in Long Beach and we had been looking to add a distillery to our endeavors. Originally, we were going to operate the distillery out of the Blendery, but we ended up needing the production space for Blendery beers. When the Bixby location popped up – we thought it was an ideal location for the distillery to be housed.” Though they expect to open soon for service, it will be some time to get the distillery up and running.
The second new location is a taproom at 2nd & PCH, a retail development in the Long Beach Marina. Expected to open in August, Beachwood Brewing Taproom has been in development since 2019, but was delayed significantly by COVID.
“A tasting room just makes sense,” said Gordon. “It’s an open, outdoor tasting room, in a busy retail plaza in our own backyard.” The expansion extends Beachwood’s footprint from their flagship Beachwood BBQ brewpub downtown to the Marina, another heavily trafficked section of Long Beach. It’s also steps away from the Ballast Point location overlooking Seal Beach.
The final new spot will be Beachwood Pizza & Beer in Huntington Beach, a part of Orange County where they already operate a production brewery and small taproom. The new location is the product of two things: a need for more space at the production facility, and a love of pizza.
“While the tasting room in our production facility has served us well, it’s small, and honestly, we really need the space for brewing capacity,” Gordon said. “That, coupled with our interest in adding handcrafted pizza to our repertoire, was the catalyst here, and the new North HB location is the perfect combination.” He added that they hope to open by September.
Beachwood came into being when co-founders Gordon and Perelman teamed up with brewmaster Shrago in 2011 for the downtown Long Beach brewpub. The new locations will add to Beachwood’s already notable slate, which includes that brewpub, Beachwood Blendery (their sour-specializing brewery a block away), a Garden Grove taproom, and the Huntington Beach production brewery and accompanying taproom. That taproom will close to make room for more production space once the new pizzeria comes on line.
You don’t have to look far to see that brewery expansion comes with not-insignificant risks. One notable local example is Modern Times. They opened locations in Downtown LA, Santa Barbara, Portland, and Oakland in quick succession, and quickly closed them all earlier this year. The quality of their beer took a hit, and the brewery is now facing a court-mandated sale to Maui Brewing (maybe). Stone Brewing, too, opened a 1200-seat, 75-tap Berlin location that they were closed in 2019, and just recently the brewery sold to Sapporo USA.
But there are other more promising examples. Tree House Brewing, the past year, massively expanded throughout its home state of Massachusetts. They opened a location on Cape Cod, then a giant new production facility and taproom, and even recently bought a golf course. Other Half Brewing, started in a Brooklyn warehouse, now runs three locations in New York City, plus ones in Philadelphia, Washington D.C., and the Finger Lakes. Both Tree House and Other Half have focused on maintaining the quality of their beer through the expansion, and – based on recent visits – have maintained a small-time brewery, personal feel in service, even in tourist-heavy places like Cape Cod and Rockefeller Center.
Gordon appears well-aware of this. “Beachwood has always been mindful and practiced slow and sustainable growth,” he said. “We will continue this strategy for the near future. Looking ahead to these next few months, we are super excited to open the new locations, and are working hard to bring everything to life – each spot is going to offer something unique and a little different for customers.”