Mare Island Brewing Company (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.
MIBC has begun building out a 15- barrel 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.
A small business loan from NDC Grow America Fund in partnership with the City of Vallejo 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.
“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