Dust Bowl Brewing Co. officially opened its long-awaited Brewery Taproom to the public — the second taproom in Turlock, Calif., to carry the growing brewery’s name. Conveniently located just off the busy Highway 99 corridor, the new site features a full-service taproom with views into an expansive brewing facility.
“We’re extremely proud and excited to open our doors to the public today,” said founder Brett Tate. “We broke ground back in April 2015, so it’s been long in coming. The new Brewery Taproom provides a tremendous opportunity to engage craft beer fans.”
Visitors will be treated to a beautiful taproom, which seats 120 inside, 160 on the patio and another 120 in the beer garden. Expansive windows behind the bar afford grand views into the brewhouse, and the west end allows guests to see the automated bottling line in action. Behind-the-scenes tours will be launched in coming weeks. The taproom boasts two 20 tap towers, where 18 different style Dust Bowl brews are poured along with two local cider guest taps. The beer menu is displayed on television screens and powered by DigitalPour, which allows customers to engage with Dust Bowl Brewing Co. on social media while seeing how much beer is left of each style in real time.
The Brewery Taproom is among the first in the area to offer Crowler fills. A Crowler (CAN + growler) is a 32-ounce can filled with fresh craft beer straight from the tap (so, a giant beer can). The dining menu boasts an array of modern bar food. Artisan thin-crust pizzas, gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches and appetizers to share are among the highlights. Guests will be treated to a variety of outdoor games, including corn hole, giant Jenga, life-size Connect Four and lawn bocce. The Brewery Taproom also offers a full retail counter, selling six-packs, 22-ounce bombers, kegs, tees, glassware and more. The vibe is relaxed, the scale is grand, and the design is vintage with a modern edge.
“We’ve tried to create a really cool place for people to enjoy our beer and food,” Tate said. “The design aesthetic is truly unique to the area. We’ve used many local artisans to pull off the look we were after. For decades, beer has brought people together. Our goal is to immerse people in the Dust Bowl brand, so they come back for more whether it’s at one of our local taprooms or at their favorite hometown bar, restaurant, grocer or bottle shop.”
Reaching new consumers is vital to the new brewery, which sits next to the taproom and occupies most of the 30,0000 sq.ft. facility. Dust Bowl plans to ramp up production from 15,000-20,000 barrels in the first year, compared to last year’s maximum production of 4,800 barrels. The brewery has already taken advantage of the increased capacity with the launch of three new brews: Canal Surfer Grapefruit IPA and two Mexican-style lagers, Taco Truck Lager and Taco Truck Amber Lager.
“Canal Surfer is the first release in our seasonal Vintage Series and the Taco Truck duo fills a void in our portfolio,” comments Brett Honoré, co-owner. “We wanted to produce an easy-drinking, low alcohol beer that could be enjoyed year round by beer lovers who didn’t necessarily want a hoppy or high-alcohol style. We’ve had tremendous response to the beer and it’s packaging, which diverts somewhat from the company’s more Dust Bowl era motif. We expect the Taco Truck brand to be a high-volume seller.”
Current distribution includes the Central Valley, San Francisco, SF South Bay, SF East Bay, Fresno, Bakersfield, Foothills, Sacramento, north to Humboldt County and the State of Nevada. The company has immediate plans to expand into the Central Coast, Southern California and the State of Washington. The Brewery Taproom brought 120 jobs to Stanislaus County, from hosts and servers to cooks and management. The staff completed a week long training and three mock service days for friends and family before opening the doors to the public.
The brewery has 15 employees who will split their time between the new brewery and the original brewery, which will produce small batches and sour beers. Additionally, Dust Bowl Brewing Co. has 15 office staff, including sales, marketing and corporate management. The company’s original Downtown Taproom, which opened in 2011, employs a staff of 43 and will continue to serve the now-booming Downtown Turlock corridor. Ownership continues to have a hands-on approach, working to grow the company on a daily basis.