One of the original breweries to be born in North Orange County during the beer-culture expansion around 2008, Bootlegger’s Brewery is opening a second O.C. location, this time in Costa Mesa. This is, in fact, its third location, not including its production facility in Fullerton, with a satellite location in Redlands.
Bootlegger’s opened in 2008 with a humble little brewery in an industrial area of Fullerton and quickly found itself just as loved as the veteran breweries and brewpubs the likes of Taps and Tustin Brewing Co. Alongside the much-beloved and insanely popular The Bruery, also opened in Placentia in 2008, the independent craft-beer boom in Orange County had some heavy-hitters to begin to solidify our place in the beer world.
The Costa Mesa site will open with 30 taps pouring some of its favorite offerings, along with some eventual location-specific small batches. The new spot will come complete with a seven-barrel pilot system, which the original brewhouse used in 2008.
“With 30 more taps to fill, production will have to increase, for sure,” says Robert Margalis, head brewer at Bootlegger’s. It will play catch up for a time, but it shouldn’t take too long. “Now that the pilot system has a new home, I am looking forward to the chance to be creative with our small batches in between smaller production brews. The idea of creating dedicated beers for specific locations is fun, and we may explore that,” he added.
“It’s been a long process, but we are finally close to opening the doors,” says Aaron Barkenhagen, owner of Bootlegger’s. When asked about the location in Costa Mesa, “Foot-traffic was a big deciding factor in choosing that location,” Aaron added. “We almost have to take the retail approach with our expansion. Being where the people are is important, not just having one location. You need to be where the people are.”
That brings up an interesting point and perspective on the beer scene. With so many great breweries, we are lucky enough to have them call Orange County home. There are plenty of breweries in close proximity, so walking or riding a bike to a few of them is actually feasible.
The soft-opening will most likely be next week at the earliest. Follow Bootlegger’s social media for soft opening and grand opening announcements.
Bootlegger’s Costa Mesa will be at The Lab, 696 Randolph Ave., Suite B.
Editor’s note: Charlie Perez is an Advanced Cicerone® who covers the Orange County beer scene for the Booze Blog.