Meet Dennis, the Maker behind Craft Beer LB & Support Local Beer
When I created Craft Beer LB in 2016, there were only three breweries in the area and at least 4-5 in the beginning stages. I approached all of them and began documenting each brewery's process. I quickly became friends with them and felt like part of the family. Today, there are at least 12 breweries, one cidery and at least 2-3 more (breweries) in process. I’ve been fortunate enough to watch the craft beer scene grow in Long Beach.
Read his story below
How’d you get your start?
When Long Beach changed their laws to allow breweries with tasting rooms to open, I knew I wanted to be involved. Before the law changed, only breweries with restaurants were allowed. My wife and I were craft beer lovers. We used to make travel plans around cities that had a lot of breweries and go on self-guided tours. Finally, our city was about to become one of those cities. We home-brewed a few times but quickly discovered we enjoyed going out and drinking other people’s beers instead. Knowing this, I knew we wouldn’t be opening our own brewery. I came up with the idea of being the hub of all things craft beer in Long Beach. That’s when I created Craft Beer LB. I immediately registered the domain and signed up for the different social media accounts available at the time. I also reserved the name on MeetUp.com not knowing it would be live for others to find right away. I had a few hundred members on the first day. Instead of sitting on the name, I started creating events for people to hang out and learn about beers and the breweries that made them.
“I’ve always been a firm believer of 'if you build it, they will come'. If there’s something you want to do, do it. It’s highly likely you’re not the only one who will enjoy it.”
How do you envision your brand growing in the future?
I turned the (lowercase lb) logo into a clothing brand where I sell apparel, mainly hats and t-shirts. The main reason I started making the hats was because I personally always wear hats and wanted something for myself. I think I made 25 of the first runs and mostly sold them to friends and family. Today I have many different colors and styles available. I’ve also created a second brand, Local Beer Brand that (I hope) will enable me to tap into the beer world outside of Long Beach.
Describe your day at home or in your workspace?
Craft Beer LB is not my full time job. It’s more of a hobby and I handle most of it in my spare time. I work a regular 9-5 for a major insurance company doing vehicle appraisals. Most of my CBLB things happen after everyone goes to sleep. As I type this, it’s 1:20 AM. Even before kids, late at night was always the best time for me to work because it’s when it’s the quietest and has the least distractions.
“I have no idea where this will all take me. One idea has spawned into many. I’ll keep doing this (and anything else that comes from it) for as long as I’m having fun doing it. I’ve met a lot of great people on this journey and hope I’ve done good for the craft beer scene in Long Beach.”
What holds more value for you: creativity or knowledge?
I would say creativity holds more value to me. If it weren’t for being creative, new ideas would not come about. Being creative is what sparks my interest in different things and ideas. After that, you can gain the knowledge of what you need to do to make that idea a reality. To be an entrepreneur, I don’t believe formal training is necessary to success. Everything I’ve done has been self-taught. You just have to have the motivation to want to learn whatever it is you’re trying to achieve.
“I’ve also created an annual beer festival that features only LB breweries (including Lakewood & Signal Hill). It's called Craft Beer LB Fest and is held on the historic grounds of Rancho Los Cerritos in Bixby Knolls. The 5th annual event is on Sept 11th this year. Tickets have sold out every year so far.”
If you could move to any other place in this or any universe where would you go?
I’ve always been enamored by sci-fi shows/movies where people were on planets and in the skyline you could see multiple moons or planets that appeared to be close. I guess that’s where I’d like to move to someday!