By the time Zymurgy had their grand opening, Jenniwein and Baker had decided that their friendship was more important than their business relationship; Baker and Jenniwein had an amicable separation, leaving Baker to run Zymurgy on his own.
It has been almost three years and Baker accomplished a lot of what he wanted to do, but running a brewery while being a school principal, husband, and father is tougher than it sounds; he just wasn’t able to take Zymurgy to the next level trying to do everything on his own. He confided in me that he was looking for a partner to replace Jenniwein; I would mention it to people I met that were looking to open a small brewery at a low price, but I had no luck.
In April it was announced that Zymurgy Brew Works was up for sale. I spoke to a few local brewery owners that I thought the Zymurgy location would be a good fit for. One of those owners was Jonathan Porter of Smog City Brewing; within a couple weeks I was informed that Smog and Zymurgy had entered into an agreement, and Smog City would open their second satellite tasting room. As a result, Zymurgy Brew Works and Tasting Room will be closing as of July 31, 2019.
After a short remodel, it is anticipated that Smog City West will be opening on September 1 with a new design, but the same concept of community, craft and education. Smog City anticipates pouring many of their exclusive and experimental craft beers at the new taproom, Smog City West, alongside their well-known beers.
Smog City co-founder Laurie Porter stated, “With 16 taps, a new long bar and a comfortable lounge area, we know that Smog City West is going to be a fun new gathering place for customers, new and old!”
While visiting with Baker last night, I asked him what his future plans are in the craft beer world; his response with quick and simple, “I will be seeing you more often at the local tasting rooms.”
Zymurgy Brew Works will remain open until July 31, unless they run out of beer first. There are no more brewing sessions available. If you do not get a chance to get there before they close, you will have another chance to try one of their brews, a collaboration they did with me, 2nd Cold War Russian Imperial Stout, which will be available at the 5th Annual South Bay Tap Takeover at Tortilla Cantina, on September 5. It is delicious; it really is.
Congratulations to Smog City on their new location, and props to Bill Baker; I know it wasn’t easy, but you did a great job. Cheers!
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