Berryessa Brewing Co. serves up good times on tap for 11 years

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Berryessa Brewing Co. employees and alumni pitched pitched in to help work the 11-year anniversary event on Oct. 9. (Jon Danyeur/Courtesy photo)

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A hops, skip and a jump down Highway 128 is a little watering hole known as the Berryessa Brewing Co. And for over a decade, this staple of Winters has not only brewed a devout following, but award-winning beers that keep customers smiling over their suds.

Berryessa Brewing Co. first opened its doors in 2011. Before that, however, co-owner and brewmaster Chris Miller was already making a name for himself and his brew-making prowess in the Washington area. He and Lori Miller, his wife and Berryessa Brewing Co. co-owner, were living in eastern Washington, which is as much a hub of hops production as it is a thriving wine country. The winemakers of the area would indulge in Miller’s brews, and that’s how they crossed paths with Dan Martinez of Berryessa Gap Vineyards.

“All the winemakers and grape growers would come into the brewery to try Chris’ beer. And through that, we met Dan Martinez, who sold a lot of rootstocks to the growers in Washington state. Chris and Dan had conversations, we knew he wanted to open a brewery and it all just fell into place,” said Lori Miller. “The reason we’re in the building we are is because that’s where Dan had space available. And I’m so glad we’re out there because we wouldn’t have had the space to grow since we’ve been here.”

Berryessa Brewing Co. is a partnership with Chris and Lori along with Dan Martinez and Santiago Moreno. While Chris conducts his mad science behind the scenes, Lori brings her background of restaurant management and hospitality to the forefront. Their combined expertise begets a welcoming atmosphere filled with music, good times, beer and has been nothing short of a success for the last 11 years.

“I do think we’ve been successful, and I’m happy and proud and grateful to everyone around. It’s become its own thing by us staying open-minded and letting things go where they may. Of course, we guided it in a way, but the community made it what it is for sure,” Miller said giving her two cents regarding the brewery’s success. “I think the biggest keys to longevity of a business is the quality of your product and your atmosphere. Having the background of the Berryessa Gap is just the biggest pile of gold that was dropped in our laps. We’re so fortunate to have that and I feel so grateful going to work in this really beautiful setting. It’s also sort of molded into who we are and TV’s blaring sports wouldn’t suit that location, so we don’t do that.”

If one needs proof of the brewery’s product quality, just look on the taproom walls where over a dozen national brewing awards are hanging. If that’s not enough, one can drive down Hwy 128 on a weekend afternoon and espy the sheer number of cars filling the gravel parking lot.

Through it all, however, the Millers are simply proud to be part of the recipe that makes Winters the best little town on this side of the Mississippi — and the other side for that matter.

“It’s been an interesting ride. The last 11 years have gone by so fast, and I’ve learned so many great things in that time. I feel like we deserve an award, too, for running a business as a married couple,” Miller said with a laugh. “One of my biggest philosophies as far as other businesses go is I’m in it to compliment the town and all the other
businesses and not compete with them. It’s really important to me in whatever we’re doing that we’re in that realm.”

To get a taste of the atmosphere and Berryessa Brewing Co.’s award-winning beer, head to 27260 Highway 128. One can also visit berryessabrewingco.com or its social media accounts by searching @berryessabrewingco.

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