It’s Canning Day at the Ventura Coast Brewing Company.
Walking down Main Street in Ventura, CA is always an adventure. You never know who you’ll run into amongst the hustle and bustle of a busy weekend, or what treasure you’ll find at the various locally owned and operated shops and restaurants. But hook a left down Oak Street and you’ll find an unassuming, off-white, building just at the corner of Oak and Thompson with understated signage reading “Ventura Coast Brewing Company” home to one of most popular Downtown Ventura hangouts
Owned by Ventura native, Kyle Thille, VCBC was founded in 2016 with the goal of helping grow the craft beer culture in Ventura. Often brewing small batches at a time of various beer styles to suit a range of tastes (not unlike our small batch, seasonal artisan finish capsules!)
Being invited to Canning Day was the perfect opportunity to give some love and recognition to another creator who honors the traditions of their artisan craft.
We caught up with founder/owner, Kyle, and his team to talk a little brewcraft and get a behind the scenes look at what goes into small batch crafting and growing a community in the beer industry.
Tell us about yourself, how did you get started brewing your own beer? How long has VCBC been around, and where do you see it headed in the future?
I started brewing beer in my broom closet. It turned out brewing classes counted for GE’s or unit requirements so I took the whole series (it was way better than writing essays!) We’ll be celebrating our 5-year anniversary this October, and I think we’ll stick to our model of trying to make the highest quality beer we can and deliver it in the freshest format. We’ll continue to make fun beers for the taproom while growing our distribution partners with beers you can count on, and have fun doing it!
How many different types of beers do you usually have on tap, and what’s your best-seller?
We’ll have around 10 beers on tap, rotating between seasonals and core brands. For our bestseller, it’s hard to beat anything Hazy in the taproom, so we try our best to give people what they want! How many cans of beer do you usually fill on these canning days?
We’ll package somewhere around 10,000 cans on a canning run
What made you decide to pursue this on a retail level?
We always wanted to be retail-focused. This isn’t really a vanity project to see our brand as far and wide as possible (although that’s cool too), but we think the best way to experience beer is the freshest possible, in a comfortable environment where you can learn about the beer and how it was made. And you can’t really beat that experience outside of the brewery where [the beer] was made.
What do you do for the brewery? PRIYA: I am the retail manager at VCBC. The main part of my job boils down to making sure our customers have the optimal experience while at the brewery. I also do our event coordinating, community outreach, and maintain our online presence.
MORGAN: I am the Director of Operations, so I help with a lot of process building at the brewery. I also do our bookkeeping and most of our administrative and HR work.
ANDREW: My title is Sales and Distribution Manager, which means I am responsible for making sure our beer gets safely to all of our accounts outside of the taproom.
What makes VCBC stand apart from others?
PRIYA: The thing that makes VCBC stand out, for me, is the community surrounding it. I know it's a bit cliche, but it's like a little family, and the family extends past our staff. It feels like everyone who comes here knows each other, in one way or another. There's always some kind person sitting at the bar who's ready to spark up an interesting conversation.
MORGAN: At Ventura Coast, we try to make sure that everyone who comes in is able to find something they enjoy. Whether someone is an experienced craft beer enthusiast or a novice beer drinker, we want to ensure they feel welcome and are able to enjoy a pint of our beer.
ANDREW: VCBC stands out from all the others mostly in part because of the great beer we are brewing, but also it’s how we interact with those that share the same passion we do for the craft beer industry.
What’s your favorite part about the brewing industry?
KYLE: How collaborative it is, everyone is here because they love the product, and no other reason.
PRIYA: I love the camaraderie of the brewing industry. We all have each other's backs, and that's really refreshing.
MORGAN: My favorite part about the brewing industry is how laid back and kind everyone is. People want their business to do well and to make good products, but at the end of the day, we’re all just making (and drinking) beer. It’s a very fun industry to be a part of.
ANDREW: My favorite part of the brewing industry is obviously all of the amazing beer that comes out of it.
What's your favorite beer from VCBC? PRIYA: My favorite VCBC beer has to be our Purple Tears West Coast IPA. When we don't have that, my go-to is Neighborhood Pale Ale MORGAN: I love all the lagers we make at VCBC, but my favorite would have to be the Cinco de Cuatro Mexican-style lager. Our Beachscape hoppy pilsner is a close second.
ANDREW: The best beer we brew consistently, in my opinion, is the Neighborhood Pale Ale, but Ventucky Pale Ale has my heart.
Where is your favorite place to see your beer on tap or on shelves?
PRIYA: I love seeing our beer anywhere in Los Angeles. We're self distributed, and have just recently started expanding into LA, so seeing it on tap, or on shelves, in the area is really exciting for me.
MORGAN: I love seeing our beer on the shelves in grocery stores. When craft beer drinkers go out, they will look for and find the craft options wherever they go, but the average person may not be actively looking for it. Being able to reach those people while they're doing their normal grocery shopping is a really exciting way to get our product to people who may not find it otherwise.
ANDREW: I really do love seeing our beer on shelves at Whole Foods, it’s a testimony to how much work and effort we have put into getting our beer out into the world. I also love having our beer on tap at Lama Dog, in Santa Barbara, on a regular basis just because it’s fun seeing our beer next to some of the best beers to come out of California.