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Sunday, March 24 , 2019, 11:21 am | A Few Clouds 60º


BizHawk: Epic Purchases Telegraph Brewery; Figueroa Mountain Plans Expansion

Saks OFF Fifth Stays; Signs One-Year Lease Renewal, After Announcing State Street Departure

The crew at Telegraph Brewing Company in Santa Barbara is celebrating the company’s purchase by Utah-based Epic Brewing, a move that will allow for a major expansion. Click to view larger
The crew at Telegraph Brewing Company in Santa Barbara is celebrating the company’s purchase by Utah-based Epic Brewing, a move that will allow for a major expansion. (Contributed photo)

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Utah-based Epic Brewing has purchased Telegraph Brewing Company, the city’s first craft brewery.

Brian Thompson founded the Belgian-inspired brewery in 2006.

“So much has changed in the craft beer world since I started Telegraph, back when hazy beers were just called unfiltered and there were fewer than 1,500 brewers nationwide,” Thompson said. “Today, with the number of breweries approaching 6,000, the craft brewing landscape is radically different.”

Thompson said competition from Belgian company Anheuser-Busch InBev’s “crafty beers” and several startups is putting stress on the market.

“Earlier this year, I began looking for ways to strengthen our legacy, and entering into a transaction with Epic was the right fit, both strategically and culturally,” Thompson said.

Telegraph Brewing will continue brewing its beer, but the ownership will allow Telegraph to increase its production capacity and offer new packaging options, including several new 12-ounce cans under the Telegraph brand.

Epic will also move seven of its large wooden vessels for aging sour beer from its Denver brewery to Santa Barbara.

“It’s a long-term dream come true” said Dave Cole, co-founder of Epic Brewing, in a statement. “I fell in love with craft beer living in California, and that love didn’t diminish when I moved to Utah despite the beer scene at the time. I feel like I’ve come full circle.”

Cole said his company has been looking for great breweries to purchase for the past 18 months and that Telegraph Brewing is a great fit.

“We are investing in the future of Santa Barbara, and are thrilled to have a direct and local connection to the amazing California craft beer community, where we share so much history,” Cole said. “To be part of such a well-regarded brewery like Telegraph is something I’ve always hoped to do, and now it’s finally a reality.”

Figueroa Mountain

Figueroa Mountain Brewery has hired Cambria Griffith as director of marketing. Griffith will join the company in 2018.

She previously worked as marketing manager at Orange County’s The Bruery & Bruery Terreux, and ran marketing for Golden Road Brewing in Los Angeles

“Having Cambria come aboard is a huge addition and step forward in the right direction for our new goals and focus,” says Figueroa Founder & CEO Jaime Dietenhofer. “She has a great reputation in the craft beer industry, and I have been a huge fan of what she has been able to accomplish in her work. We are very lucky to have her on board and excited about what she will be able to create.”

Figueroa Mountain Brewery is expected to quadruple its brewing capacity and physical footprint at its Buellton location. The brewery also has locations in Santa Barbara, Arroyo Grande, and Westlake Village.

Figueroa Mountain currently brews about 20,000 barrells annually, and expects the number to grow to 110,000 barrels after the expansion.

“We currently have to brew around the clock — 22 and a half hours every day — to keep up with demand,” Dietenhofer said in a statement. “At peak performance on our new system, we’ll be able to make 60 barrels in about four hours, which is a huge bump in efficiency.”

Saks OFF Fifth Stays

Real estate sources have confirmed that Saks OFF Fifth has extended its lease for one year, beginning in February. The company was widely rumored to be giving notice about a departure from the 1001 State St. building, before officially giving notice in October.

The store stays for now. The property is managed by Radius Group.

State Street retailers have struggled with high lease costs and a drop in foot traffic as some customers shift their shopping habits to Amazon.com.

Macy's left its space in the Paseo Nuevo Mall earlier this year. Several stores on State Street have also vanished, victims of high rents, fewer shoppers and the presence of homeless people. 

Saks' lease renewal is short-term, but gives the property owner more time to find a permanent tenant. Or maybe, Saks OFF Fifth will decide to stay even longer.

The decision by Saks to stick around, however, could offer hope for other big and small retailers trying to make a decision on whether to stay on State Street or move elsewhere. Prior to Saks OFF Fifth, the main brand, Saks Fifth Avenue, filled the building.

Noozhawk staff writer Joshua Molina can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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