VALLEJO, CA – Mare Island Brewing Company (MIBC) has begun building out a brewery in one of the historic Coal Sheds on Mare Island. The expansion will allow the business to nearly double their current taproom hours and support MIBC in bringing on additional wholesale accounts to achieve a retail and restaurant presence throughout the San Francisco Bay area.
MIBC was launched in late 2013 by Kent Fortner and Ryan Gibbons, initially with a few small wholesale accounts. They opened the Mare Island Brewing Co. Taproom at the Vallejo Ferry building in June of 2014, and were enthusiastically embraced by the community. It quickly became evident that the small batches they brewed on-site weren’t nearly sufficient to satisfy demand, and MIBC sought “contract brewing” arrangements at breweries in Sonoma and San Jose, installing tanks at those established locations and utilizing those existing brewery’s equipment for Gibbons to brew MIBC beer. With the continued success of the brand and escalating demand, as well as the founders’ desire for complete control over the brewing process, Fortner and Gibbons turned to drafting plans for their own brewery.
“The origin of Mare Island Brewing Co. has been the essence of “craft” in every sense of the word. Ryan and I had been bootstrapping this from the beginning—working the proverbial 24/7—and the brand, beer and the taproom have proven to be a success beyond our original highest hopes. But we simply didn’t have the brewing capacity to meet demand. We were ready to open more hours, fill more growlers, deliver more beer, and hire more awesome folks, but we needed our own, bigger, specialized brewery to make it happen. We had identified the perfect historical building for renovation and had already designed the space. We just needed to pay for it. We explored a few different avenues for funding, but in the end, the friendly terms and the community focus of the Grow Vallejo Fund were a great fit. We are now building the brewery pretty much exactly how we envisioned, including a lot of provisions for future growth if the beer gods continue to smile on our efforts.” Kent Fortner – Founder, Mare Island Brewing Co.
The loan will help the owners complete needed leasehold improvements and purchase equipment for the expansion of the brewery. The project will also renovate and resurrect one of the historic, waterfront Coal Shed buildings on Mare Island, originally erected in 1900. The growth is anticipated to initially create a minimum of 12 new jobs in the community.
“Kent and Ryan are the ideal applicants for the Grow Vallejo Fund. They are entrepreneurs with a good business sense and a vision for growth. One of the principles of the Grow Vallejo Fund is to create jobs, and with the construction of their 15-barrel brewery, Mare Island Brewing Co. is anticipating immediately doubling their current workforce of 12 full-time employees. They are great community partners and have opened their Taproom for various charitable events. We are looking forward to this expansion and their continued success.” Mayor Bob Sampayan, City of Vallejo
About The Grow Vallejo Fund
The Grow Vallejo Fund is a partnership between the City of Vallejo and the NDC Grow America Fund. It was established as a small business loan program run by an experienced non-profit lender, who has been working with cities and doing loans for over 20 years. This funding is for established businesses within the city limits, with at least three years’ experience, who are profitable and looking to grow. It can fund working capital, machinery and equipment, leasehold improvements, real estate acquisition and construction. Typical terms are 7-25 years, depending on what is being financed and rates start at Wall Street Journal Prime + 1.5% (variable, fixed rates are available too).