Fifteen months after breaking ground in a field just off Highway 99, the owners of Dust Bowl Brewery Taproom officially opened Monday.
The brewery has grown significantly since it started as a hobby for founder Brett Tate and brewmaster Don Oliver in 2009. The company, co-owned by Tate, his wife, Karen, and Brett and Camy Honoré, now employs 189 people between the new Fulkerth Road facility and the downtown tap room on Main Street. The brewery occupies a 30,000-square-foot building.
Michelle Peterson, spokeswoman for the brewery, said people from all over have been asking when the brewery would open. A Facebook announcement about the event Monday morning drew a crowd by lunchtime.
“It’s go time,” Brett Honoré said, looking around a restaurant that was bustling by 11:30 a.m.
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In addition to Dust Bowl’s original Hops of Wrath, the restaurant, open daily, serves up a variety of other Dusst Bowl brews. Eighteen total beers are available on tap.
The brewery features a large patio outside with lawn games such as corn hole and bocce ball. It’s designed to be family friendly and relaxed.
But the beer is the focal point, and the Dust Bowl folks showed off their newest way to get it: the “Crowler.” It’s sort of a growler — the bottles you can take to craft breweries and get refilled — on a smaller scale and in a can. A customer orders a Crowler, which is filled from a tap and then sealed and labeled. It’s a way for people to bring the beer along to places where glass isn’t the best option, like a beach or a pool deck.
A few miles up the road, another local brewer also is celebrating. Sandude Brewing, also based in Turlock, will have a ribbon cutting ceremony at 4 p.m. Tuesday at its new tap room, 1028 11th St. in Modesto.
Find Dust Bowl Brewery Taproom at 3000 Fulkerth Road, Turlock.