Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Creature Comforts is going to Cali!

Notice the palm trees, anyone? (Photo by Creature Comforts)

While Georgia remains the home base, they will also be throwing up the "W" in 2021 with a new brewery and taproom in L.A.!

Whether you have followed my articles and Instagram posts in the past when covering craft beer, there is no mystery that I continue to find Creature Comforts as one of the best in the industry. I’ve known them since trying the homebrewed concoctions co-founder David Stein poured me using the “Creature” name here in Atlanta years before launching the brewery in Athens, GA, was even a serious thought. Well things done changed in a big way with the announcement to opening up a new brewing location and taproom in an entirely different state. The masses would assume it would be a neighboring one like Alabama, Tennessee or Florida, but naw, they chose California. I was wowed by the news but honestly not in disbelief. It only made sense. 

Since Creature’s flagship IPA, the fruity, west coast-inspired Tropicália, hit the shelves back in 2014,  the brewing company has progressed in almost fairy tale fashion. I won’t go into detail how they blew up since I busted my ass to tell the story here (page 24), but one thing of great magnitude did change; they always proudly stated having no plans of leaving Georgia and follow a similar blueprint of Wisconsin’s beloved brewery New Glarus. Glarus still remains in solely their birth state, whereas Creature? My mom always said, “You want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans.” 

Believe me, I will continue to have Creature’s product, especially their numerous IPA variations, stocking my fridge and covering their ongoing success story. The breaking news could’ve gone totally left by saying they were either swallowed up by a bigger entity and no longer officially “craft” orin today’s current economic climateshutting down one of their two brewing facilities in Georgia, greatly downsizing their staff, or something of similar devastation. Conversely, we needed good news for craft beer entrepreneurs and we finally got some. 

With “Cali” already embedded in the name of their most popular brew that helped pave the way, palm trees on its packaging (see the pic at the top) and going Hollywood with Thor holding a can of Trop' in the Avengers: Endgame, it almost seems like it was their destiny. As a matter of fact, Joe, one half of the Russo brothers who directed Endgame among other blockbusters, has been a huge fan for years and partnering with the brewing company to assist in the upcoming opening. Now that's gangster. Just keep Georgia on your mind, Creature. 

It was difficult to honor the embargo for announcing the news, but now I can officially say one thing: Congrats. 

The official press release is below with a lot more updates. Cheers!
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Dave , Chris and Adam.


CREATURE COMFORTS BREWING CO., GEORGIA’S CRAFT BEER PHENOMENON, ANNOUNCES EXPANSION WITH NEW BREWERY AND TAPROOM OPENING IN LOS ANGELES

AUGUST 11, 2020

Slated for Summer 2021, Its First-Ever West Coast Operation Will Brew the Peach State’s Wildly Popular Craft Beers in the City of Angels

ATHENS, Ga., August 11, 2020—Creature Comforts Brewing Co., one of the fastest growing, respected and recognized new breweries in the U.S., today announces its expansion to Los Angeles with the planned opening of a new brewery and taproom. Slated for Summer 2021, it will be located in City Market South at 1124 San Julian St. in the Fashion District. This represents the first time that Creature Comforts, founded by the entrepreneurial trio of David Stein, Adam Beauchamp and Chris Herron, is expanding beyond its beloved home state of Georgia. 
The brewery will offer Californians the brand’s award-winning, finely balanced beers for the very first time. The innovative brand will be introduced to one of the U.S.’ most trendsetting states with its own robust craft beer culture.
Since launching in 2014 in Athens, Ga., an eclectic college town east of Atlanta, Creature Comforts has electrified the craft beer community with its year-round and limited release beers, with beer sales skyrocketing 2,675 percent since debuting.
Creature Comforts is known for its wide range of highly rated beers, including year-round and seasonal offerings such as Tropicália® (American IPA), Classic City® Lager (Lager), Athena (Berliner Weisse), Cosmik Debris® (Double IPA), Bibo® (Pilsner) and others. Limited releases range from Hazy Double IPAs and Fruited Berliner Weisses to rustic barrel-aged farmhouse-style ales using locally-sourced ingredients. Creature Comforts’ Los Angeles brewery will also produce select beers exclusively for the California market.
“Over the years, we have admired the stellar craft brewing scene in California and its pivotal role in advancing American beer,” says David Stein, Founder and Co-Owner, Creature Comforts Brewing Co. “We have collaborated with outstanding brewers in Los Angeles and throughout the state, and I’m proud to call them my friends. We are committed to both bringing our beers to California and continuing to build our brand in Georgia, home to our long-time, loyal fans who have been critical to our success,” adds Stein, a creative force for the company who plans to relocate to Los Angeles to help build the brand.
A Partnership with Joe Russo: Film Director and Entrepreneur
Creature Comforts’ Los Angeles brewery is a partnership with Joe Russo, an award-winning film director and entrepreneur. While filming in Georgia, upon one sip of Tropicália®, he became a genuine fan of Creature Comforts’ brews. Over time and many conversations over beer, a human bond and a partnership emerged. Russo has been instrumental in helping the Creature Comforts team bring their brand to the West Coast. He is sharing his insights into Los Angeles and his expertise in storytelling and global brand building.
A Beer Destination with the Capacity to Produce 3.75 Million Pints a Year
Once constructed, the brewery will include a 3,000-sq. ft. taproom, a 10,000-sq. ft. production facility and copious outdoor seating. The brewery will have the capacity to grow production to 15,000 barrels (the equivalent of nearly 3.75 million pints) annually, with more than two dozen hires planned. The brewery includes a 15-barrel brewhouse with a mix of 15-barrel and 60-barrel fermenters and brite tanks, a centrifuge and a canning line.
Los Angeles Bubbles to the Top
When selecting its first market outside of Georgia, Creature Comforts combined both the founders’ personal desires with an array of analytics on American cities, including data points such as the number of breweries, population dynamics, regulatory environment, demographics and more.
“Los Angeles stood out because of its large craft beer community, the success of numerous independent, small craft breweries and California’s brewery-friendly state laws,” says Chris Herron, CEO and Co-Owner, Creature Comforts Brewing Co. “The beautiful weather and coastal location were also factors, since a good number of our beers are great in the warmer months, and we just really love the beach! Combining those factors with the solid friendships we have made with some local breweries and the chance to work in close proximity to Joe and his team, LA became an obvious choice.”
Successful Collaborations with Los Angeles and California Breweries
Over the years, Creature Comforts has collaborated with breweries in and around Los Angeles, including Highland Park, Modern Times and Green Cheek, as well as those in other parts of California, including Russian River, Sierra Nevada, Firestone Walker and Alvarado Street.
“We are excited to join the vibrant craft beer scene in California and plan additional collaborations,” says Adam Beauchamp, Brewmaster and Co-Owner, Creature Comforts Brewing Co. “While we are delighted to share many of our core year-round and seasonal beers, we also look forward to creating unique brews for the Los Angeles community.”
Passion & Serendipity Bring an Entrepreneurial Trio Together
The founders of Creature Comforts together shared a love of craft beer and a long-held dream of opening their own brewery. David Stein began as a home brewer in college with an unquenchable passion for beer. He turned pro after years of diligently honing his craft, while creating an underground brand of beers. He called it “Creature Comforts” to celebrate the fact that beer itself is a creature comfort.
Stein partnered with geneticist turned production brewer Adam Beauchamp, an accomplished home brewer and friend who worked for SweetWater Brewing Company. They were joined by sales, finance and business operations veteran Chris Herron, who dedicated his 12+ year career to the beer and beverage alcohol industry.
At Creature Comforts, the trio would engineer a brewery that is helping craft beer change the way Americans enjoy beer. The winning formula is the ability to consistently make finely balanced artisanal brews, craft innovative flavors that drinkers crave, embrace authentic branding and create lasting impact in the community through forward-thinking initiatives.
A Brand Inspired by Curiosity, Empathy and Sustainability
Creature Comforts celebrates the journey of being curious, pursuing one’s passion, working hard, finding happiness and, ultimately, enjoying the creature comforts of life. Its culture is deeply collaborative and empathetic, offering beers that are innovative, yet authentic. Creature Comforts also embraces eco-friendly practices.
An Award-Winning Brewery in Athens, Ga.
Since launching in 2014, Creature Comforts has embraced brewing beers that are innovative and balanced. For example, Tropicália® was on the front end of the less bitter IPA trend and focused more on the citrus and tropical aromatics from the hops. Beer fans and critics alike responded enthusiastically, both in their home base of Athens, Ga., and throughout the state. Their beers are frequently crowned as the best in their category and the brewery the best in Georgia. As a result of their success, Creature Comforts opened their second production brewery in 2018 to keep up with demand. The world class brewery houses top-of-the-line brewing equipment, a full science lab and a canning line capable of filling 280 cans per minute.
Charitable Initiatives Generate $2 Million of Value and Major Community Impact
Creature Comforts’ purpose is to foster human connection and sees its beer as a means of creating these ties. One of the company’s values is to “Make It Better” and, as such, the company is deeply committed to ensuring its local community is better because Creature Comforts is there. Its groundbreaking strategic impact programs, “Get Comfortable,” targeting those most in need, “Get Artistic,” supporting the arts, and “Brew For One,” an annual beer initiative helping one worthy individual, have generated $2 million of value for the Athens, Ga. community. These programs will also be a force for good in Los Angeles when the new brewery and taproom open in Summer 2021.
Pivoting During COVID-19 and Staying True to the Company’s Values
During the pandemic, the brand leaned into its core values, such as “Make It Better,” “Leave a Legacy,” and “People over Products.” The result was nimbly pivoting to offer drive-through pickup of select beers to satisfy thirsty locals and beginning production of hand sanitizer, for which they donated over 1,000 bottles to 37 nonprofit partner organizations at no cost. The brewery also distributed $135,000 through its “Get Comfortable” fund to local nonprofits and participated in a global brewing collaboration that supported service industry workers.
Making Beer Sustainably in Athens, Ga.
Creature Comforts embraces eco-friendly practices to minimize power usage and waste. This includes using solar power for 70 percent of the brewery’s needs and extensive LED lighting. Highly-efficient, fully automatic brewing equipment also economizes energy use, as does heat recovery in the brewhouse. In addition, spent grain goes to local cattle farms, resulting in a 99 percent total waste diversion from landfills.
A Serendipitous Tasting by an Award-Winning Film Director & Entrepreneur
Call it fate or pre-destiny, award-winning film director Joe Russo was in Atlanta shooting the blockbuster Avengers: Infinity War. Joe’s assistant at the time, a Georgia native, brought his attention to Tropicália®, Creature Comforts’ flagship brew that famously sold out within an hour of hitting store shelves when it launched. On his first sip, Russo was immediately hooked and became the ultimate fan, along with his cast and team. The production crew regularly waited in line to purchase six-packs that they then brought back to the set. Russo, who is always seeking new creative talent to celebrate, set out to meet Creature Comforts’ founders. Upon sharing meals and beers together, he discovered the great people behind the excellent brewery that he adored.
From Athens, Ga., to the Pinnacle of Movie History
To salute Creature Comforts’ behind-the-scenes role in the filmmaking process, Russo gave their Tropicália® and Athena beers a cameo in Avengers: Endgame, which had the most successful box office debut in history. In the film, the brews are enjoyed by no less than Thor, the heroic lead character played by Chris Hemsworth. Russo has a calling for finding amazing individuals who are outstanding at their craft and spotlighting their creations. 
Back in Los Angeles, Serendipity Strikes Again and a Partnership Emerges
Upon returning to Los Angeles, Russo serendipitously discovered a space in the same development as his AGBO production company that was zoned for a brewery. He knew that Creature Comforts had an eye on the city as an expansion market and reached out to the team. Over time, many conversations and beers, they decided to collaborate and build a Creature Comforts brewery in Los Angeles. The goal of the partnership is simply to empower the Creature Comforts team to succeed in their first expansion and help expose more people to this top-quality beer.
“Creature Comforts beers are some of the best I've ever had,” says Russo. “I was taken by the beers on their own, but when I met the team behind the brews, their standards as great human beings matched their standards as exceptional beer makers. I fell in love with their work ethic and their caring attitude towards their customers and employees, as well as their commitment to social causes. I think people in LA are going to value the way Creature Comforts builds community. Equally important, they're going to love the beer as much as I do.”

ABOUT CREATURE COMFORTS BREWING COMPANY

Creature Comforts is an Athens, Georgia based brewery offering finely balanced artisanal beers. Since opening its doors in April 2014, Creature Comforts has made an imprint in the craft beer community with its award-winning, year-round and limited release beers. Committed to its local community, Creature Comforts has generated over $2 million of value for Athens through its “Get Comfortable,” “Get Artistic” and “Brew For One” programs. The company will be opening a brewery and taproom in Los Angeles in Summer 2021. To learn more about Creature Comforts, visit www.creaturecomfortsbeer.com and follow the company on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/CreatureComfortsBeer/, Instagram at @creaturecomfortsbeer and Twitter at @creaturebeer.