The founders of one of the borderland’s most familiar breweries are taking the next step to expand their distribution capabilities.
DeadBeach Brewery will move into a new home next year at a still undisclosed location in South Central El Paso, said Jason Hunt, managing partner for DeadBeach.
“It’s a very necessary movement for us,” he said. “We’ve been working on it for about three years. We didn’t want to do it too fast; we needed the brand to develop to where it is today. We’re now at year five and are completely maxed out at our location on Durango.”
Hunt said their goal is to expand their distribution capabilities to get DeadBeach beers into markets in the rest of Texas, New Orleans, Denver and everywhere in between.
Veronica Hernandez, director of marketing and advertising for DeadBeach, said the project will cost about $5 million and will include a tasting room and beer garden.
“DeadBeach is going to be bigger and better, without ever losing our El Paso ties and feel,” Hernandez said.
She added that they are eyeing a spring or summer 2021 opening.
Hunt said the location will be easily accessible from all parts of the city and will be visible for people traveling through.
“I think the city is going to gravitate toward it,” Hunt said. “Anyone traveling on the highway will see it, going from Florida to Los Angeles, and will look up DeadBeach. A brewery of this size can come in and anchor an area as well, and we could see that whole area evolve over the next 10 years.”
The move is bittersweet for DeadBeach, especially during a year in which pandemic-related restrictions limited most gatherings and affected things like capacity and dine-in offerings.
Hunt said he wished people could get one last look at the location at 406 Durango and said the founders put all their work and energy into creating that space.
“I still want people to see that everyone worked so hard to build that location, little by little. All our blood, sweat and beers went into that, and we’re going to go out and build a new one,” Hunt said.
Bars were ordered closed due to the coronavirus, but some have remained open by obtaining licenses to operate as restaurants. Hunt said they chose not to pursue that option and, instead, have focused on curbside pick-up and delivery.
“If I’m selling more food than I am beer, I should be in the restaurant business,” Hunt said. “But we sell beer, and we have pride and joy behind that.”
DeadBeach celebrated its fifth anniversary on Nov. 1. Hunt opened DeadBeach alongside founders Gabriel Montoya, the master brewer, and Justin Ordonez, the director of operations.
But 2020 hasn’t been without challenges for everyone, including the brewery.
Hunt said DeadBeach has made about 8% of what it made last year.
“I’m really excited about the future,” Hunt said. “Right now, we’re all dug in and trying to get through this strange 2020, and I now refer to the year as a dead cow – there’s no point milking it.”
Hernandez said the support of customers and the community has helped DeadBeach and other small businesses get through this year.
“Remember to keep shopping locally,” Hernandez said. “We’re a local entity, and all the community is needing local support. Look out for not just our industry but for others who are a big staple in terms of small business.”
Hunt said he and the DeadBeach partners want to turn the brewery into a 100-year company where El Pasoans can make entire careers and lives.
“My hope is that if I can do this the right way there will be careers that people can retire with for the next 100 years,” Hunt said. “Me and my partners can pass it on to our kids, and it will be around a lot longer than I will be.”
The brewery on Durango remains open for curbside to-go orders for beer and food offerings. For more information, visit DeadBeach.com.
Beers from DeadBeach can also be found at other bars and restaurants in El Paso.
Email El Paso Inc. reporter Sara Sanchez at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (915) 534-4422.