The little brewery that could is about to do even more
Sarah and Justin Walsh, owners of June Lake Brewing, have gotten pretty good at defying the odds—they’ve built a successful brewery out of a warehouse on a back street in a tiny ski town (in the middle of a drought) while doing things their way (heavy metal music and sassy beertenders). June Lake Brewing is the little LLC that could, and they’re gearing up to become a huge player in June Lake with the purchase of the five parcels surrounding and including their warehouse—parcels which include both the June Lake General Store and Trout Town Joe.
When the Walshes first leased their building from Eric Drell, who held the parcels in the Drell Family Trust, “he said I’m never dying, and I’m never selling,” Justin Walsh told The Sheet on Sunday, June 25. Then, in April of 2016, Drell called up Walsh. “He said, ‘I’m dying, and my… kids are going to sell [the property] out from under you.”
So the Walshes leaned in. They put their plans to add new tanks to JLB on hold. “We had to take all the funds that we had set aside for expansion and liquidate them to make a deposit on a loan to purchase the properties, because our future was in jeopardy…[the current warehouse is] honestly the only building in the entire June Lake valley that could facilitate what we’re doing now and the expansion we planned for the future…so it kind of pushed us into a corner,” said Walsh.
The Walshes did the entire buildout of the JLB warehouse (water, sewer, insulation, you name it) themselves, with some dedicated help. “It was a tremendous investment in facilities for an unproven business with a five-year lease,” said Walsh. But it worked.