From Humble Beginnings

Mike MorrisonFrom a 10 gallon home brew setup in San Diego, to a 30 barrel commercial brewing system - MadeWest's very own, Mike Morrison didn't just open the doors to our 14,000 sq ft building here in Ventura and start brewing away. He was a home brewer (and a damn good one at that), for almost 8 years, before stepping into the big leagues. 

Mike was introduced to home brewing simply enough. His good buddy had a home brew kit and one day they decided to brew a batch together. "The beer was an IPA and we thought it was pretty decent, but I'm sure if I tasted it today I'd think otherwise. Pretty quickly I got the hang of it and started making some better beers. I was hooked on the whole thing...and kind of obsessed".

Mike was a regular at Ballast Points Home Brew Mart. In fact, his name is carved into one of the barrels there...not really, but it might as well be for how much time he spent there. While Mike wasn't working his real job at AIG, he was brewing, and when he wasn't brewing, he was thinking about brewing. He spent countless hours perfecting recipes and honing in on his technique. Fast forward a few years later, with 2 first place awards and runner up for best in show at the San Diego County Fair, it was safe to say Mike was making some good beer. 

It was in 2013 that Mike linked up with long time friend, Seth Gibson, and the two decided they were going to open a brewery in their hometown of Ventura. Funded by their closest friends and family, Mike and Seth set out to share quality craft beer with the community of Ventura. 

The MadeWest you see today didn't just drop out of thin air. There was no Amazon Buy Button or Building a Brewery for Dummies to follow, just good old hard work, a whole lot of passion and a copious amount of support from the community. "Our first few brews were completely nerve racking. Luckily, we had help from my buddy Alex Tweet from Fieldwork Brewing. Alex had a big part in our brewery planning and he actually came down from Berkeley and brewed our first 2 batches with us to get familiar with the equipment. We had a lot to learn and everyday was  a new challenge, but it was all exciting and we couldn't have been happier to be open and pouring beer."

Although not true for everyone, it seems that almost every homebrewer dreams of turning their passion/hobby into a career. But don't let the few hundred words above fool you. Professional brewers go through a lot to earn that position and when opening your own brewery it's even harder - it takes skill beyond the kettle.

Here's to humble beginnings...

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