Mammoth Brewing Company (MBC) closed its doors at its former Berner Street location on March 31, but it is still waiting to open the tasting room at its new location in the old Whiskey Creek building at the intersection of Main and Minaret.
Calling it “the original meeting place in Town,” MBC owner Sean Turner said: “There’s a lot of history in this building. We want to change some things but also take advantage of that history.”
Although MBC has looked at expanding for a while, the expansion and move to the new location, “all happened so fast,” Sean said. “We’re still deciding what we’re going to do with it.”
First, MBC is waiting for California Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) to expand its current license to include the entire building. MBC always had its ABC license in Suite B of the building, while Whiskey Creek maintained its own license for Suite A. MBC then had a duplicate license for the Berner Street location, which it let go after moving out of that location at the end of March. Ergo, MBC is waiting for the expansion of its current license to include Suite A.
“We’ve always had a license that allows for on-site consumption and the sale of growlers and other to go,” Sean said. According to Joyce, MBC is in good standing with ABC in Bakersfield. “There aren’t any problems with the ABC license to our knowledge,” she said. It’s a specific license for craft beer and retail sales. It does not, and will not include, spirits or wine.
While the ABC license has always allowed for the sale of pints, at Berner Street, the North Village Specific Plan (NVSP) did not. Hence, the Brewing Company’s business model: “We’re the first brewery to only offer tasting,” Sean said. “Now this model is being emulated by other breweries.”
“The Town forced us [into this model at the outset] but it turned out to be a good thing,” he said.
At the new location, “our number one focus is the tasting room and retail shop,” Sean said. The tasting room is set up on the ground floor of the building, with the large U- shaped bar facing the wall length window overlooking the Sherwins. The retail shop will be a step down to the left and the cold cases selling bottled beer are along the back wall. The second floor will remain closed for now.“I think we have the skinniest brewers in the country.” –Andrew Drake, MBC Tasting Room Manager
Although most of MBC’s beers can be purchased around Town, “We have had some people walking up to the door with their growlers,” Sean said. To make up for the missed first Wednesday in April, Andrew Drake, the tasting room manager, said that the Brewing Company will offer half price growler fills the first and third Wednesday of May (and May only).
He also said the tasting room will stay open for an extra hour at the new location – from 10 a.m. until 7 p.m. daily. Depending on how things develop, the hours could expand further. “This is a prominent location,” Drake said. “We want to become more of an attraction in Town.”
The Turners are “visualizing” what else they can do, now that they have a much larger building for the Brewing Company. “We are investigating how to continue to operate a restaurant upstairs. We would also like to have an extension into a beer garden in the trees,” Sean said. “But we’re doing our homework and haven’t made any decisions yet.”
Drake mentioned the possibility of offering 15-minute tours in the new facility, although people won’t be able to actually go where the tanks are. “I think we have the skinniest brewers in the country,” Drake said. “It’s really tight in there but you can see all the production right from the window.” The tanks, each labeled with which beer is brewing, and the bottling line are visible from the window. “We focus on education about craft beer by showcasing our beers,” Sean said. “But we really want to educate people about the brewing process.”
The Turners expect to be cleared by ABC this Friday and have their Grand Opening planned for Friday, April 18, just in time for the Easter Holiday weekend. And if the ABC clearance doesn’t come through? “We’ll just serve root beer at first if we have to,” Sean said. “I hope we don’t have to because that’s not why people come.”