SUCCESS STORY: SURF BREWERY
Bill Riegler spent 25 years in chemical R&D, marketing and technical sales. Like many people, he often dreamed of branching out and trying his hand at something else.
A surfer who’d been interested in brewing since the 1980s, Riegler and a group of six friends decided to open a surf-themed brewery in Ventura. Two-and-a-half years later Surf Brewery opened, on June 8, 2011.
The owners were a collaborative group with a wide range of industry expertise. Once they recruited commercial brewer Chas Cloud, Surf Brewery began to take shape.
With help from the City of Ventura and the EDC-VC, Surf Brewery was able to secure a loan, find a site location and meet the myriad of challenges the owners faced during the development process.
Laying the Ground Floor
Securing a location was not as easy as Riegler and his partners thought it would be. Some landlords didn’t want a long-term lease. Others didn’t want a brewery taking over their location. After 13 possible locations, the partners settled on Market Street in Ventura. “We worked with the City of Ventura on all the permitting particulars,” said Riegler. “They were a great help and led us to the EDC-VC, which helped us secure a City of Ventura loan to get started.”
While Surf Brewery does have a tasting room on location, the company makes most of its revenue through commercial sales. “We’re not a brew pub,” continued Riegler. “We have a few of those around here, but they don’t distribute on a large scale like we do. We get our product out in kegs and bottles.”
Growing From the Inside
The company’s nine employees are currently brewing nine different varieties. Plans are to offer more selections in the future and to add more employees, positioning the company to accommodate the expansion. “We got back in touch with the EDC-VC and secured another City of Ventura loan to help with our growth. We’re growing steadily and we need the funds to support our continued expansion,” said Riegler.
4561 Market Street #A • Ventura, CA 93003
805-644-2739 • www.surfbrewery.com