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edible Monterey Bay Summer 2016

36 edible monterey bay summer 2016 this year will help SCMB get cans of the four beers out to more Boardwalk concessions and local shops. If her brewery can make enough, omas wants to expand distribution to the South Bay, then maybe San Francisco and Oakland, but no farther. “When we first started we did the whole West Coast and Hawaii and we felt that the farther the beer got away from us, the less we could control the quality,” she says. “With the availability of good local craft beer in pretty much every city, I don’t think it is necessary to go farther than your local area.” LOCAL ROOTS e eldest of four siblings, omas grew up in the San Lorenzo Valley on the grounds of a conference center in Ben Lomond, where her parents were caretakers and her mother was the cook. All of the food was vegetarian and mostly organic. So tinkering in the kitchen comes naturally. “Moosewood and Mollie Katzen were our go-to resources. I’ve probably made every dish in the first three Moosewood cookbooks,” she says with a laugh. “My parents definitely loved food.” While attending Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Oregon, omas developed a taste for craft beer and learned the art of brewing from her uncles, who lived locally and had a great appreciation for Portland’s microbreweries. ough she graduated with a degree in journalism, she took a job in San Diego, another craft beer capital, as a secretary working for tech giant Qualcomm. She caught on so quickly that within six months she was promoted to engineer. After 10 years in the corporate world, omas returned home with the idea of bringing the flourishing craft beer scenes of Portland and San Diego to Santa Cruz. In 2005, she and former husband Chad Brill founded Santa Cruz Mountain Brewing, igniting the current boom. omas and Brill have two school-aged boys and still happily share both child rearing and running the brewery. “I came back and couldn’t figure out why there were only Seabright and Boulder Creek brewing,” she says. “I’ve always wanted Santa Cruz to be a beer destination.” Now with 15 craft breweries in Santa Cruz County alone and dozens of tap houses in the area, omas shines as the leading lady of the brewing community. “We really work hard to be united. We’re only 6% or 7% of the entire beer market,” says omas of the position of craft brewers nationally, “so our true competition is the big beer companies, and we kind of all stick together. “People who get into brewing are passionate about what they do, and we all try to do something unique so it is less threatening to each other and makes everyone friendlier,” she adds. SCMB remains the area’s only certified organic brewery, although other breweries make some organic beers. Surprisingly, she believes there’s still room for more local breweries. “A brewpub is different from a coffee shop, it’s different from a bar, it’s different from a restaurant,” she says. “It’s more casual. You can meet friends there after work or hang out with your dog, so I really think every part of town could sustain a beer bar or brewpub, for sure.”


edible Monterey Bay Summer 2016
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