Back in May, husband-and-wife entrepreneurs Grant Fraley and Marta Jankowska announced they would be moving from San Diego to Denver to pursue career opportunities. With them moving halfway across the country, many wondered if that meant they would close their brewing company, ChuckAlek Independent Brewers. When reached for comment, Jankowska stated the business would continue running as it has been for years under the direction of head brewer Samantha Olson. Today, the couple announced to their staff that they have decided to shut their six-year-old brewery down.
In a communique to their employees, Fraley and Jankowska indicated that they and Olson had made the mutual decision to close, stating that business simply is not as good as it had been in previous years. Coupled with the aforementioned move, this course of action seemed most appropriate. ChuckAlek’s Ramona brewery and tasting room will remain open until the end of this month, while its satellite “Biergarten” venue in North Park will remain in operation until September 2.
ChuckAlek opened in Ramona in 2012 under a business name paying combinative homage to Fraley and Jankowska’s grandfathers. It was the first-ever brewery for the far-flung unincorporated East County community. The town’s brewing-company count rose to two last year when Smoking Cannon Brewery opened less than two miles away. Rather than conform to trends, ChuckAlek produced beer styles combed from the annals of European history. In May of 2016, ChuckAlek expanded to North Park, garnering greater brand recognition while providing one of the county’s best family-friendly local-beer venues.
“Marta and I are honored by the support for ChuckAlek over the last six years, and give thanks for all the memories and friends we’ve made along the way,” says Fraley. “Cheers, San Diego! We’ll miss sharing our beer with you!”
ChuckAlek is the fifth local brewing company to close this year, following in the footsteps of Oceanside Ale Works, Fallbrook Brewing, Kearny Mesa’s short-lived (one day in operation) Barrel Rescue Brewing and Barrio Logan’s Alta Brewing, the last of which is temporarily closed as it works to reopen with a new head brewer.