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Meet Brian Jensen of Bottlecraft Beer Shop and Tasting Room in Little Italy

Today we’d like to introduce you to Brian Jensen.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
After getting my BA in Business Communications at Point Loma Nazarene University, I moved to New York to go to culinary school at the French Culinary Institute. There I learned about cooking as well as wine and beer. In the years after culinary school I worked in every aspect of the hospitality industry including cooking, brewing, and wine sales.

When I moved back to San Diego I worked a bunch of odd jobs while I was figuring out what I wanted to do. I knew I wanted to open my own business, I just didn’t know what. I wrote about twenty different business plans and shared them with my family and friends. The idea for Bottlecraft, which was influenced by some time I had worked at a wine boutique in Brooklyn, was the one that I got the best feedback from, so I dug in and figured out how to make it happen.

I was twenty-seven at the time and a small beer shop and bar was easy enough for me to open and run cheaply (I bootstrapped the first shop with a mix of savings and borrowed money from family). That first shop did well and I had the opportunity to open another shop in North Park, and then Liberty Station and most recently Solana Beach just last year.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
It has definitely been a learning experience. Overworking was hard when I first got started out, but I suppose that’s recreated for any start-up. Luckily, I was single at the time and could pretty much live at work!

We’d love to hear more about your business.
Bottlecraft is a boutique beer shop and bar that curates hundreds of craft beers from around the world. Our inventory changes often, as we are always getting small-production, seasonal beers in. Our staff is extremely knowledgeable, friendly, and excited to help our customers find the perfect beer for them. Each of the four San Diego locations offers hundreds of bottles and cans available to-go, as well as a bar offering beers to taste in small tasting sizes or a standard pint. It creates a fun environment and definitely a contrast to shopping for beer any other way – it’s just more fun to sip on a beer while shopping!

We have been recognized as San Diego’s “Best Bottleshops” by West Coaster Magazine and City Beat and have featured in national publications including the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, and Sunset Magazine.

What were you like growing up?
I’ve always be an entrepreneur at heart, and excited about creating and learning about new things. Additionally, I’ve always been really interested in food and hanging out in the kitchen.
 

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Getting in touch: SDVoyager is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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