Yep, that was unexpected
Starting a business is a lot like spelunking: diving into dark crevices, squeezing between uncomfortable obstacles and crawling belly-first through El Niño-ridden muddy floors. In other words, when spelunking, reaching a claustrophobic end occurs much too readily.
Pivots–changing directions when reaching a dead end–are about as common in spelunking as they are on the tortured trail of starting a business. Humble Sea spent September raising funds to secure a 3,400 square foot warehouse in Soquel. Following a structural examination, the property was deemed unusable, giving Humble Sea two options:
Option 1: Bulldoze and rebuild the property with an estimated cost exceeding $1 million and a timeline of 2 years.
Option 2: Break the lease and relocate.
Humble Sea was handcuffed. A pivot was on the horizon.
When establishing a location for a commercial brewery, obstacles are expected. Factors like size, zoning, expense, location, and competition from other applicants are among a variety of factors that determine if a commercial lease is granted or not.
Simply put, finding a location is not simple.
January provided a new opportunity for Humble Sea Brewery. After months of searching for a new location, a 4,000 square foot warehouse zoned properly on the westside of Santa Cruz became available. It was the break Humble Sea needed.
With plans of continual growth, an established cluster of wineries, eateries, and other crafted businesses, plus an entrance to the city from Highway 1, rendered the westside of Santa Cruz as a viable option. One, big, problem–Santa Cruz Mountain Brewery, a very established and well respected brewery in Santa Cruz–is located across the tracks (literally).
At first thought, placing a brewery next to an existing brewery seems conniving, an ill attempt to skim customers from one establishment and redirect them to another. Furthermore, the guys at Humble Sea are HUGE fans of Emily, Chad and the rest of the crew at SCMB. They're a cornerstone in the Westside beer scene and the epitome of a community-oriented brewery. Paradoxically, Humble Sea Brewery believes it will do the exact opposite: complementing a flourishing bundle of booming businesses.
Grouping similar businesses is no new idea. According to bloomberg, “industry clusters are a catalyst for economic growth.” Like tech is to the Silicon Valley, wineries are to Napa, or a ninth brewery is to San Diego’s 30th street, clustering like-minded companies together creates a hub that everyone involved.
As Santa Cruz continues to bloom into a craft beer hub, the distance between existing breweries will continue to shrink. Humble Sea knows that a group of organically grown small businesses will add to the prosperity of an already thriving craft community.