Today we’d like to introduce you to George Thornton.
George, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I started homebrewing at the age of 19. Throughout high school I had an interest in beer culture and the different styles that were available around the world. It appeared to me that the grown ups close to me and in our community had neglected the beer styles and drinking cultures of Europe.
Early brands like Karl Strauss, Ballast Point, & Stone stoked my interest. After returning from a trip to Europe (I went to “bad kid” school in 11th grade, so I was able to work 40 hours a week at McDonald’s to help my parents pay for a month long class trip), I was even more nostalgic for those styles and attitudes.
At the behest of my older sister, I started making my own. It was a fun hobby throughout college (BA in History UCSD, MA in History SDSU).
Towards the end of my MA I was working at a small homebrew store in North Park. The owner was about to convert the store into a brewery, and had lost interest in the homebrew side of things. I was more interested in the customer service and education aspect of the supply store, so when he decided to close the store, I decided to open my own about a mile north on El Cajon Blvd.
We opened our supply store in 2012 with some small family loans. We’ve been reinvesting and bootstrapping this thing ever since (for better or for worse).
In 2013 we started plans for Home Brewing Co. a brewery and tasting room that we could use to showcase ingredients/techniques, and to make delicious beer. Home Brewing Co officially opened in early 2015, and we’ve been reinvesting and bootstrapping ever since (again, for better or for worse).
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?
I suppose you could call it smooth… it is paved with the frothy suds of beer after all…
I’ve had to learn a lot. I feel like I could make a good argument for why SDSU should give me an honorary MBA for my efforts. We’ve had to teach ourselves about taxes, compliance, HR, safety, finances, getting turned down by banks, finding investors, writing contracts, logistics, customer service (we’re naturals at that at least), large scale productions, wholesale, marketing, etc…
There are times where I feel the pressure, but that usually fades into a wonderful evening with the many friends and family that we have made along the way.
So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Home Brewing Co & The Homebrewer (brewery/tasting room & Homebrew Supplies) story. Tell us more about the business.
We specialize in providing stellar customer service, providing supplies & resources to brewers, teaching people about beer, kombucha, cheese, cider, mead, etc… and in making high quality local lagers and ales of a variety of styles and regions.
Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
Timing was good: we moved into a part of North Park that people are still discovering. We are in a beer community that supports us.
- $25 Intro to Brewing Course
- $50-200 Starter Kits
- Address: 2911 El Cajon Blvd
San Diego, CA
- Website: thehomebrewersd.com | homebrewingco.com
- Phone: 6194506165
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/homebrewingco/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/homebrewingco/
- Yelp: https://www.yelp.com/biz/the-homebrewer-san-diego
Bob Ross and CDC Small Business Finance – George in brewery
Joe Park – aerial shot of storefront & interior retail & tasting room