Joel Elliott and Rich Marcello – Founders/Owners, Strand Brewing Co

Strand was built in 2009 in a tiny warehouse near the Torrance airport.

When our first three tanks arrived on a flatbed truck we could not believe how big they were and we weren’t sure we could sell all the beer they could produce. It was a scary and exciting time. They were about head-high, just a few feet wide and could each hold a maximum of 14 kegs worth of beer (to put this into perspective, some of our tanks today can each hold 180 kegs worth of beer).

At that time, craft breweries were such a foreign idea to this area that quite a few bar and restaurant owners were unwilling to put our beers on draft. They didn’t believe we could provide quality products consistently. But there were a few that supported us fully right out of the gate and over time had a great impact on establishing the new beer culture locally.

We spent the first couple years without a tap room because that wasn’t a thing that people understood. Back then you didn’t go drink beer at a brewery in a warehouse in Torrance. During that same period we had to hand deliver everything ourselves because small distributors didn’t exist like they do today and the big ones hadn’t yet taken notice. We had an old beat up minivan that we would load so full with kegs that it would scrape on the speed bump in our parking lot as we drove away from the brewery every morning.

Since then a lot has changed. We have grown and done our best to help the craft beer movement in Los Angeles grow as well. Not only have we spent countless hours advising would be brewers as they begin their own ventures but we helped create what is now the LA Brewers Guild and we worked early on behind the scenes to educate local government agencies about craft breweries so that opening one in LA County is not nearly as difficult as it once was.

Blazing trails is not always fun or pleasant. We have lost our way on more than one occasion. Some of the breweries that came up behind us quickly surpassed us and there have been times when we felt as though we were standing still. But looking at it now, we are extremely proud to have had some influence on what has become a thriving community of artisans that is built on a foundation of hard work and ethical principles.

Alas, it is impossible to tell our story without telling your story. You, the craft beer drinker are the most important single element in this story. Without you there is no craft beer.