Business Matters

‘The Rock’ Carrying on SLO Brew Legacy

The owners of SLO Brewing Company are getting to be old hats at opening bars.

Their new expansion location near the San Luis Obispo Regional Airport, at 855 Aerovista Pl. had a soft opening in March after 18 month in construction, although the 10,204 square-foot brewery has been up and canning before the public was allowed in.

That makes it the third iteration of the SLO Brew name, counting the original on Garden Street that was torn down to make room for a hotel and mixed-use project.

Co-owners Rodney Cegelski and Hamish Marshall say this is it for them as far as new projects go. In fact, says Cegelski, the mood at the tasting room is more his style anyway, “this is what it’s about, actually making good beer. The other one, downtown, that’s running a night club.”

On an informal tour Marshall points out the materials used in finishing the tasting room, which turned out to be twice the size originally envisioned, after a mistake in the plans placed posts for the patio virtually on top of the rock formation that gives the spot it’s name.

The tile used in the outdoor tables, the stained wood and molding used to finish the bar, and some of the piping for the bar is all left over material from the downtown location on Higuera St. and the lofts above.

Despite being literally made of the same stuff, the atmosphere is much different from the flagship location. As might be expected from a building hosting a 30-barrel brew house, canning line, and event space.

In the time since they’ve started production they’re up to 6,500 barrels per year, gotten their beer into 400 locations and brought five new distributors on board, said Cegelski, “Our goal is to get SLO Brew back up to where it used to be.”

If the promise of chilling out in the sun by “the Rock” with a brew straight from the source isn’t enough, Executive Chef Thomas Fundaro has worked up a line of smoked meats that pair with the brews. The melt-in-your-mouth brisket, pulled pork, sausage and chicken is all done in a rotisserie Oyler pit smoker behind the brew house using local oak and apple wood.

The tasting room is open everyday from 11:30 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.

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