Bear Roots Brewing founder Terry Little presented a plaque to the company’s 2018 Loyalists of the Year, Amanda and Travis Krahel. The former teared up talking about how the couple had moved to San Diego two years prior and quickly made family-like friends at the Vista nanobrewery. The latter could barely speak, raspy and exhausted from a 100-hour shift. Even that couldn’t keep him away. Ditto the other “loyalists” who converged at Bear Roots for a party that included a stein-holding contest, cheeseburger-eating competition and an announcement from Little that he is offering up 50% of the company to interested investors.
“Bear Roots is so much bigger than me,” Little said. “Since day one, it’s never been about me. Everyone on our staff is what Bear Roots is all about.” That staff, which works at Bear Roots’ original combo brewery and homebrew-supply store at 1213 South Santa Fe Avenue and a recently-opened downtown Vista tasting room at 135 East Broadway, will remain intact as Little steps back from the business to devote time to his family and a new job with brewery supplier BSG. He plans to stay a part of the business but operate in a board of directors-type capacity.
Bear Roots operates a one-barrel brewhouse and brews 42 barrels of beer per month. This requires as many as four brews per-day to keep specialties like its Bear Cookie chocolate peanut butter stout, Rooted In Nelson IPA and Hop Tyrant series of rotating hoppy beers stocked. Little ventures that Bear Roots is the only one-barrel brewery in the country to have two thriving, well-supplied tasting rooms. The business is also canning its beers and has five-year leases at both of its locations.
In May of 2015, Bear Roots successfully raised $25,753 through a Kickstarter campaign, before opening in December of that year.
Apart from Bear Roots, Little was in line to assume the president position with the San Diego Brewers Guild for 2019. As reported in West Coaster earlier this month, that position will now be filled by Burgeon Beer Company co-owner and president Matthew Zirpolo, who had been in line to serve as vice president under Little next year.
Little values Bear Roots at $800,000, with individual shares going for $8,000. Investment is open to anyone interested and, as Little puts it, “anyone who has ever wanted to be part of something awesome.” Interested parties may reach him via email.