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Meet Steve Aguilar of Brewing Reserve of California in Costa Mesa

Today we’d like to introduce you to Steve Aguilar.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
Our brewery is a family business. My wife, Teryle, and I started planning the venture almost four years ago shortly after we started dating. We met while working at Pandora media. I was working out of the Oakland office and she was in New York. I learned as we dated that she was a serial entrepreneur and was always thinking of new businesses. I had been home brewing for several years and she urged me to pursue opening a brewery. We started looking in the bay area but knew we ultimately wanted to move to SoCal where I grew up. So we decided to look for locations in Orange County and fell in love with Costa Mesa. We made the move from NorCal to SoCal with our newborn baby, my wife taking a new job and I keeping my job in the bay area. Things were tough but we made it work.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Far from smooth. When we started thinking about the brewery, we were located 500 miles north of where we would ultimately open and we each had highly demanding jobs. When we started the process we had no children and by the end we had two beautiful little girls. We basically took on some of the most stressful things you can do all at the same time: starting a new business, having two children, moving, starting new jobs and long-distance commuting for work. We looked at over 60 properties over two years before deciding on our current location. We also ran into permit issues and had to go to city council twice to get our permit approved. It was grueling but well worth it at the end.

Brewing Reserve of California – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
We are a family-owned and run brewery. My wife and I invested our own money to start it and took no outside capital. We operate in a 3,000 sq ft industrial space where we brew onsite and have a tasting room. We are happy being a neighborhood brewery a block away from Orange Coast College and Target. We are doing everything we can to incorporate the community – for example, each month we bring in a new local artist to display their artwork and sell to our customers. Their art fills our walls for the month and they get exposure and sales. It’s one of the ways we are trying to bring in the community.

The thing that sets us apart and that I’m most proud of is our staff. They are an incredible group of people that make the experience at the brewery extra special. They are smart, funny, caring, and always make customers feel welcome. Take a look at any of our Google or Yelp reviews and you will see comments all over about them.

What is “success” or “successful” for you?
Our goal is to be a community-based and customer-driven brewery. We support local artists and musicians by providing them a space to perform. We’ve donated and poured beer at city events and have hosted a handful of fundraisers. Even the styles we brew come directly from customer feedback. We know we’re on the right track when people bring in family and friends because they want to share the space.

Success to us is when customers feel BRC is as much their brewery as ours.

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