Microbreweries abound in Los Angeles and they have sprouted up in the Inland Valley. In between, however, Stephen Kooshian and his business partners see an opportunity.
"The San Gabriel Valley has this void of microbreweries," Kooshian said, explaining why he and two friends decided to start brewing beer in Monrovia.
Kooshian is the president and brewmaster for Pacific Plate Brewing Co., a microbrewery at 1999 South Myrtle Avenue which could soon start brewing a host of different beers. If a permit from the state Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control comes through as expected, Kooshian said Pacific Plate could be serving their small-batch brews to tasting room customers as soon as mid-May.
"For the last year and a half, we've been putting it together piece by piece," Kooshian said. "It's definitely a labor of love."
Monrovia's planning commission has already granted Pacific Plate a conditional use permit to manufacture and sell beer and the company has received federal clearance as well. And according to Monrovia Community Development Director Steve Sizemore, more small breweries could soon follow suit.
Sizemore, a home brewer himself, said that Monrovia has identified microbreweries as a growth industry that could significantly contribute to the city's tax base if more brewers come to Monrovia and expand.
"When one gets established and two or three follow I think we’ll get a lot more interest in it," Sizemore said. "You're seeing a big expansion of craft breweries in America and you're seeing some of these brewers going from smaller operators to bigger operators. We can start some of these guys like an incubator type of business."
Another brewer has already expressed interest in joining Pacific Plate and applied for a permit to open a brewery at 130 E. Walnut Avenue. Financial complications have arisen, however, and the company--Monrovia Brewing Company--withdrew its application earlier this month. The company is still interested in other locations in the city, according to Monrovia's development blog.
If all goes well for Pacific Plate, the fledgling operation plans to start brewing in April. The company's one-barrel brewing system has the capacity to brew 31 gallons of beer at a time, and the brewing process takes about four weeks, Kooshian said.
About one-third of the 1,600 square-foot location on Myrtle will serve as Pacific Plate's tap room where customers can walk in during business hours and taste flights of beer or order pints.
Kooshian said his brewery will start by offering two lines of beers: traditional ales and lagers and a "specialty line" infused with Latin American ingredients. One example of the second line is a horchata stout, which combines an English-style stout with horchata ingredients like vanilla and cinnamon. The brewery also plans to produce a mango-flavored India Pale Ale and an agave-flavored wheat beer.
"We'll always be inventing new beers," Kooshian said. "Our philosophy is that there's nothing that can't go into a beer."