Gunwhale Ales is now in Orange! And behind the bar in the tavern there are a lot of colorful cacti, all painted with surprising delicacy, the craft beer is the one that is made following a “recipe” of its own, by brewing masters that give it a different and more personal flavor; logically its production is limited, since special attention is paid to flavors and textures.
Above the long wall, which is punctuated by windows that look into what will become a substantial brewery, is Gunwhale’s old-time-y logo, superimposed over a historic lot map of Orange as it existed a century ago or more.
Sure, there are other artsy craft breweries in Orange County (though not many). But Gunwhale has an advantage: one of its three founders, Bobby Fitzgerald, 41, is a professional artist who has worked at Sony for the last two decades. He’s responsible for the room’s classy ambiance.
Still, it’s hard not to notice that there’s a lot of wall space to paint on in the new facility. Is Gunwhale ready for the quantum leap from artsy boutique brewery to a bigger, riskier, more competitive league?
“We always planned it that way,” Fitzgerald said. “We wanted to start small but build the expansion brewery and invest in the production and distribution side once we had proved the concept. We wanted to test the market first to make sure everybody liked what we had.”
Everybody did. From its beginnings in a Costa Mesa warehouse not far from the Lab, Gunwhale has separated itself from the pack of beer startups that have appeared over the last few years in O.C.
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