Golden Road Brewing—Anaheim Tap Room
2210 E Orangewood Ave
Anaheim, CA 92806
Golden Road Brewing LA
5410 W San Fernando Rd
Los Angeles, CA 90039
Cofounder, Golden Road BrewingBeer, it's clear, isn't just for dudes. Women are drinking more of it. And as Meg Gill proves, they're making more of it, too. Amid America's craft beer explosion—more than 2,000 at last count—FORBES reckons that Gill, 28, is the youngest female brewery owner in the country. And her Los Angeles-based Golden Road Brewing is one of the fastest-growing; it produced 15,000 barrels last year and expects to double that output this year. "It's all about finding those relationships to help support the story behind the beer, the beer itself and all the love that goes into getting the beer into the right vessel," says Gill, who spent her time at Yale in the decidedly beer-unfriendly realms of classics study and varsity swimming. Yet she credits the former with her unique outlook on suds: "Latin is about putting pieces of the puzzle together, and the same thing is true of getting beer on the shelf." Gill, who sold beer from an R.V. before cofounding Golden Road with an industry veteran, Mohawk Bend owner Tony Yanow, reaches those shelves by putting her high-end brews—$7.99 for a 16 oz. four-pack—inside aluminum cans. Revenues exceeded $10 million in 2013, and Gill plans to expand her dozen-plus offerings outside her southern California base in 2014 (www.forbes.com/pictures/eimi45eelh/meg-gill-28/#1cceac725702).
Original Gravity: Featuring Meg Gill, Co-Founder Golden Road Brewing
Former Olympic Hopeful Meg Gill Thinks Beer Could Help Save the Environment
She has shattered swim records and business conventions. Now Meg Gill has her eyes set on the brewing industry’s pint glass ceiling.
In the thick of a craft beer bonanza, in which every dude seems to be fermenting in their garage, it’s refreshing to come across someone who actually knows what she’s doing. Meg Gill, the 29-year-old president and co-founder of Golden Road Brewing in Los Angeles, has built a profitable, high-quality brand in an industry that’s disappointingly bereft of women.
A microbrewery with macro ambitions, Golden Road makes five core brands, three seasonal IPAs, and 30 draft-only specialties available at their pub in Los Angeles. In 2014, they produced a whopping 30,000 barrels, reaping over $10 million in revenue. The company’s prolificacy is matched only by its president’s: In addition to being the youngest female brewery owner in the world, Gill is a dedicated environmental activist and record-setting swimmer.
But let’s back up a moment. How exactly did Gill break into the boy’s club of breweries and earn a place on Forbes 30 Under 30: Food and Drink list? As it turns out, you can’t tell the story of her suds success without delving into her other passions.
Born in Chester, Virginia, Gill was the first person from her town to attend Yale, where she swam competitively. In her senior year, she completed the last leg of the freestyle relay in a remarkable 22.26 seconds, setting a new record in Ivy League swimming. After Yale, she accepted a sales position at Oskar Blues Brewing in Colorado, which might sound like a college grad’s dream job, but for Gill was just a way to support herself as the 2008 Olympic Trials approached. She explained to Imbibe magazine: “Even when I first got into the craft beer scene, selling beer was something I saw as a side gig. It was a means to earn additional money, so I could swim more.”
Soon, however, Gill was forced to reevaluate her athletic career. After surviving a devastating car crash, it wasn’t clear whether she would be able to swim professionally anymore. “Before, I thought of beer as a hobby so I could pay the bills and swim,” she says of the accident. “During my recovery, I couldn’t swim as much, and that’s when I fell in love with the business of beer.” (www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/01/30/former-olympic-hopeful-meg-gill-thinks-her-beer-might-help-save-the-environment.html)
In 2009, she took a job at the struggling San Francisco brewery Speakeasy. There, she proposed a risky solution to the brand’s fiscal troubles: scale back. Instead of chasing new markets, they’d focus on establishing a dominant presence in their hometown. Gill withdrew Speakeasy from 18 states in 6 months, an experience she now considers a crash course in the business of going local.
Around this time, she met Tony Yanow, the owner of a well-known bar in Burbank, California. The two hit it off and founded Golden Road Brewing together in 2011. Leaving San Francisco behind, Gill set up shop in Los Angeles, where the craft beer scene was far less developed. So much less developed, in fact, that Golden Road became the only production brewery in town.
Since then, their aluminum canned beers have earned no shortage of praise for their taste and freshness—the frat boy sommeliers over at Beer Advocate are particularly fond of the Surfliner IPA with Coffee—but it’s the brewery’s commitment to sustainability and social equality that’s drawn national attention. At Golden Road, Gill is helping lead the charge for gender parity and eco-consciousness in the craft brew industry.
Gill sometimes bristles at the title of youngest female brewery owner in the world, but then she remembers that it “draws attention to a deficit we have in the beer industry: a lack of female leadership.” Despite the fact that the U.S. has more breweries today than at any point since the Civil War, women remain badly underrepresented in business. However, Gill says she’s noticed an uptick in women in the beer industry since she got her start.
And Gill is more than a symbol: she’s using her position to foster real change. After witnessing ocean pollution while surfing in Santa Monica, she was inspired to join the board of the non-profit environmental group Heal the Bay. Together with other eco-conscious businesses such as Whole Foods, Golden Road donates a portion of their profits toward environmental charity.
At the end of a long day of crusading, Gill still likes to dive in the pool to decompress. Following a moment of uncertainty after her crash, she returned to the sport with vigor, swimming competitively for The Olympic Club. A brewery executive as comfortable lapping up IPAs as she is lap swimming in a Olympic-sized pool? That's worth raising a glass to (www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/01/30/former-olympic-hopeful-meg-gill-thinks-her-beer-might-help-save-the-environment.html).
Surfer, Activist, Brewer & Role Model: Meg Gill of Golden Road Brewing
By: Mike Stein, July 1, 2013
To meet a brewery owner who surfs is not uncommon. A brewery president who is a competitive swimmer and surfer is much more rare. This may even be a group of one.
Even if you could name another, you’d be hard pressed to find someone as passionate about beer, the environment, and modeling success for young women, as Golden Road Brewing Company President and Co-Founder Meg Gill. On Tap recently spoke with Gill on her activism and the success of her brewery.
Golden Road Brewing Company is the only production brewery in Los Angeles, California, and it is fitting that a one-of-a-kind President runs it. Superlatives are popular when interviewers describe Gill, especially the title of “youngest female brewery owner in the world.” But what does Gill make of the title?
“It’s important because it draws attention to a deficit we have in the beer industry: A lack of female leadership.“ Gill also said, “It’s a silly title but it brings people’s awareness up and hopefully encourages young women to pursue leadership roles in beer…I do feel that there are more women now pursuing careers in beer than five years ago.”
It’s not just awareness of the lack of female leadership that Gill is raising, it’s also awareness of our environment. A surfing safari not too long ago piqued Gill’s own awareness of water pollution. “I was surfing after a storm in Santa Monica, which you’re never supposed to do. But I was new to LA, and there was trash and bottles going from the storm drains straight into the ocean and my mind was blown like, ‘how the fuck does this still happen? What’s going on?’ And the guys who volunteered for clean up gave me some information on Heal the Bay (an environmental group.)” It was through this interaction that Gill discovered this 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.
Today, Heal the Bay and Golden Road are collaborating to raise funds and awareness, with Heal the Bay IPA (India Pale Ale). Gill described the collaboration and said “they came to us and said ‘because of your no bird chokers, because of your cardboard recyclable boxes, because of your aluminum, because of your spent grain going out to farmers, we want to work with you’…at first the goal was to raise awareness for both organizations.” (www.ontaponline.com/2013/06/01/surfer-activist-brewer-role-model-meg-gill-of-golden-road-brewing/)
Golden Road Brewing: L.A.'s Newest Craft Brewery
WEDNESDAY, JULY 27, 2011 AT 3:52 P.M.
They undersell their plans, but make no mistake, the size and scope of what Meg Gill, 26, and Jon Carpenter, 29, envision for Golden Road Brewing would transform it into the largest craft brewery in Los Angeles.
Golden Road is the brainchild of bar owner Tony Yanow. After transforming dive bar Tony's Dart's Away into a dive and craft beer bar, Yanow revamped the vintage Ramona Theater into recently opened Mohawk Bend. Gill suspects that deep-down, Yanow had always yearned to open a brewery.
A champion swimmer at Yale, Gill was at a crossroads after college. She moved to Colorado to help another former Yale swimmer with some marketing duties then segued into working for Dale's Pale Ale, riding around the country in an old RV trying to open up new markets for the canned beer. It was something she did spectacularly well. After her stint as regional sales manager of Oskar Blues (the company that brews Dale's), she moved to San Francisco to oversee Speakeasy, an upstart brewery founded in 1997. Eventually, Yanow came calling. Gill, who had loved Los Angeles during her visits to the city, listened.
"I've been to New York, to Seattle, to Philadelphia, to some of the most established beer markets in the country," Gill says, "but I have always been blown away by how LA is the most energetic and welcoming to outsiders. I saw an opportunity to work in a city to [Tony and I] both felt desperately needed more breweries."
As Gill and Yanow made a wish-list of qualities they were looking for in a master brewer, Carpenter (not to be confused with the Halloween and Escape from New York filmmaker) came to the top of the list. He was working as assistant brewmaster at Dogfish Head Brewery in Delaware, which pumped out about 120,000 barrels per year. Prior to that he had worked at Anheuser-Busch, developing new beers at their pilot brewery in St. Louis and helping oversee production at the much larger Merrimack, New Hampshire facility.
Gill initially assumed they would never lure Carpenter to Golden Road, so she made an exploratory phone call just to hear his ideas on what they should look for in a master brewer. At the end of a long, late-night conversation, she offered him the job. Carpenter was flabbergasted. Obsessively working long days (and nights) to institute a new production system at Dogfish Head, he hadn't even considered the possibility.
"She filled me in on the crazy passion and excitement she and Tony had for this project, and I started considering it. Eventually, that's why I came to LA." (www.laweekly.com/restaurants/golden-road-brewing-las-newest-craft-brewery-part-1-2377705)
Tony Yanow, Meg Gill and Jon Carpenter
Golden Road Brewing opens their doors for Los Angelenos
Posted by Lucas Li on October 18th, 2011
Last Sunday marks the official opening of Golden Road Brewing, located in Atwater Village, Los Angeles. We’ve followed progress for a while now and were on scene for the debut event where we tried the beers, heard their plans, and found out little more of their beginnings.
Like Hefeweizens? We’re sure that you’ve all enjoyed a bottle somewhere down the line, but have you ever taken a look at the label to see when it was bottled? CEO Tony Yanow shared a story about bringing some great Hefeweizens to sample with president Meg Gill saying that the beers were 14+ months old and thought “these must be a lot better when they’re a month old or a week old.” After heading to Germany, they found out that “they were way better,” says Tony. L.A. is in for a treat as Golden Road will be supplying you a local, steady supply of fresh Hefeweizens and IPAs mainly because of what Meg says, “we’re obsessed with fresh beer in the market.”
Meg met Jon Carpenter while working on San Francisco’s Craft Brewer’s Conference. After telling him about their plans for Golden Road and L.A., Jon told her how crazy she was but also wanted to provide advice, saying, “I want to find you the best brewmaster for this project.” Eventually, they got in contact over the phone and he gave her his thoughts, she responded with, “everything you’re describing, its you and only you. Just get here. Please.” And here he is (http://la.tasteterminal.com/2011/10/18/golden-road-brewery-opens-their-doors-for-los-angelenos/).
Meg Gill, 29, co-founded Golden Road Brewing three years ago, helping to spur the growth of the burgeoning craft beer community in L.A.
In 2011, beer enthusiasts Meg Gill and Tony Yanow founded Golden Road Brewing to bring fresh beer to the local market in the most sustainable way possible. Brewed and canned in Los Angeles, Golden Road’s year-round offerings include Point the Way IPA, Golden Road Hefeweizen, Get Up Offa That Brown, 329 Lager and Wolf Among Weeds IPA. Golden Road is committed to engaging and supporting the growing community of socially-minded beer enthusiasts in Los Angeles (www.scpr.org/events/2014/09/24/1519/lunch-and-learn-branding-and-marketing-your-busine/).
Meet the Youngest Female Lead in the Brewing Industry
Locale Magazine Editors May 12, 2016
Meg Gill Is Co-Founder of The Golden Road Brewing in Anaheim
Written By: Elizabeth Nutt Golden Road Brewing
Photographed By: Bradley Blackburn
Meg Gill is no stranger to the spotlight, but it’s not just because she’s a bright Yale alumna, supremely confident and beautiful, and a fierce athlete. Rather, Gill—who only recently turned 30—is the country’s youngest female brewery owner and she’s more than made a name for herself in the craft beer industry. Gill co-founded (with partner Tony Yanow) and currently serves as president of Golden Road Brewing. The company’s flagship brewery, The Pub at Golden Road, is located in the Atwater Village area of LA and was one of the city’s first local craft breweries.
Only three years later, in 2014, Gill was honored as a member of Forbes’ “30 Under 30,” specifically for her work in creating one of the fastest-growing brewing companies in the country, as well as for establishing herself as one of the first female power players in the craft beer industry. In 2013 alone, her brewing company produced 15,000 barrels and raked in more than $10 million, proving to Los Angeles that it was in need of a high-quality local craft brewery, and that if it was going to be done right, it’d be done by Gill and Tony Yanow. Today, Golden Road Brewing is L.A.’s largest craft brewer, and it’s only getting bigger. In addition to the Pub at Golden Road—which boasts 20 revolving taps—the brewing company opened in fall 2015 its Anaheim Tap Room. “It’s not so that people get a taste of our beer, but more importantly, it’s so they get a feel for what Golden Road stands for,” explains a proud—and rightly so—Gill.
It seems that Gill was destined for success from the very beginning. She graduated from Yale University in 2008, where she swam competitively on the varsity swim team. She had dreams of becoming an Olympic swimmer, but hops and kegs quickly took the place of bathing suits and swim caps. Seeking out jobs at small businesses to pay off student debt and to focus more intensely on her athletic training, Gill found craft beer almost by accident.
When she relocated to Boulder, Colorado, post-college to pursue professional triathlons, she secured for herself a sales job with Colorado’s Oskar Blues Brewing, which is best known for its Dale’s Pale Ale. “The owner had this, ‘If it ain’t fun, I ain’t doin’ it’ mentality that really stuck with me,” says Gill. “I had no formal training, but all of the sudden, I had this passion for business and for craft beer.” Before long, Gill was helping to take a small brand and make it nationally-recognized, and she worked tirelessly to educate herself on the marketing components of the craft beer industry.
A year later, in 2009, Gill went on to join San Francisco-based brewing company Speakeasy Ales & Lagers, a position that provided her with the opportunity to learn more about the financial side of the business. Soon, she was completely hooked by the craft beer industry. At the same time, she had a job running Burbank’s beer bar, Tony’s Darts Away, which Tony Yanow happened to own. The seed for the Golden Road Brewing was planted when Gill and Tony began fostering their working relationship together.
Part of Gill’s position with Speakeasy entailed traveling up and down the California coast to meet with the brewery’s distributors and investors, on whom she made an apparently strong and lasting impression. A handful of said investors began to encourage Gill to do her own thing. Together, Tony and Gill decided that, though it’d be risky and incredibly challenging, there was a huge opportunity for them to start a craft brewery together in LA where there was a 10 million-person market and no craft beer on the shelves. “I thought, That’s so crazy, it’s so hard to build a brand from scratch! But then I had investors and the money behind me and I thought, We should do something,” says Gill. “Back then, I didn’t know what I didn’t know, I just sort of went for it. So, I’ve said for a long time that Golden Road Brewing became a success because of blind ambition.” (http://localemagazine.com/meet-the-youngest-female-lead-in-the-brewing-industry/)
Golden Road Brewing and Anheuser-Busch Announce Partnership (https://vimeo.com/140123230)
Brew Talks LA: Why We Sold Golden Road (www.youtube.com/watch?v=wetUMuxL2YQ)
Golden Road Acquired by AB/InBev
Discussion in 'Pacific' started by Saxmusik45, Sep 23, 2015.
St. Louis — Anheuser-Busch today announced it will acquire Los Angeles-based Golden Road Brewing. The deal will enable Golden Road to bring more of its fresh, canned beer to the brewery’s local market and to introduce its unique hop-forward beers to more consumers. The partnership will build on Golden Road’s commitment, since 2011, to bring fresh beer to the market in the most sustainable way possible.
“The energy and passion of the beer community is what drew me into this industry and with Golden Road we wanted to help develop the craft beer market in L.A.,” said Meg Gill, president and co-founder at Golden Road Brewing. “Our team worked hard to build Golden Road from the ground up and we are proud of the growth we’ve achieved in such a short time. California is an exciting and competitive market for beer and I see endless opportunities in partnering with Anheuser-Busch and their incredible distribution network to bring our beers to more people.”
As the largest craft brewery in Los Angeles County, Golden Road expects to sell approximately 45,000 barrels of beer in 2015 and can be found in more than 4,000 retail locations. With a brewery focused on draft and can production, a pub in Los Angeles and a new tasting room downtown. Additionally a new tasting room, opening in 2015, second production brewery and pub in Anaheim will be operational by the forth quarter of 2016. Its core brands – Point the Way IPA, Wolf Among Weeds IPA, Golden Road Hefeweizen and 329 Days of Sun Lager – represent 95 percent of volume. Along with the core beers, Golden Road brewers are constantly experimenting with the freshest ingredients through a collection of rotating, seasonal and limited-edition brews, most notably the Custom IPA Series, a line-up of diverse, hop-forward IPAs.
“Golden Road’s commitment to making great beer, their pioneering spirit and the passionate beer culture built within the company is what appealed to us,” said Andy Goeler, CEO, Craft, Anheuser-Busch. “Their focus on giving back to the community and impact on the Los Angeles craft market in four short years makes Golden Road a strong addition to our craft portfolio.”
Golden Road Brewing will join Goose Island Beer Company, Blue Point Brewing, 10 Barrel Brewing and Elysian Brewing as part of Anheuser-Busch’s High End Business Unit’s portfolio. Anheuser-Busch’s partnership with Golden Road Brewing is expected to close by the end of the fourth quarter of 2015. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.
#1Saxmusik45, Sep 23, 2015
And nobody was surprised.
#2FrogOut69, Sep 23, 2015 (www.beeradvocate.com/community/threads/golden-road-acquired-by-ab-inbev.337749/)
by John Kell @johnnerkell SEPTEMBER 23, 2015,
Anheuser-Busch InBev continues to add to its craft beer bar tab. On Wednesday the company said it has bought Los Angeles-based Golden Road Brewing. This is AB InBev’s fifth craft deal since it first started making these acquisitions five years ago to better position itself within the broader U.S. beer market.
Golden Road Brewing is the largest craft beer operator in L.A. County but a tiny competitor among craft brands nationwide—it’s expected to only sell about 45,000 barrels of beer in 2015.
“We didn’t have a ‘for sale’ sign in the ground, we weren’t looking to sell our business,” Meg Gill, Golden Road president and co-founder, said in a video that also featured Andy Goeler, CEO of craft at AB InBev. Gill said she was encouraged by what AB Inbev BUD 0.71% had done with its other craft brands, which include Goose Island, Blue Point, 10 Barrel and Elysian, and that Golden Road wanted to be with “the winning horse.” (http://fortune.com/2015/09/23/anheuser-busch-golden-road/)
Golden Road Brewery founder on why the brand was sold and what's next
Tony Yanow, one of the founders of Golden Road Brewing, which was bought by Anheuser-Busch InBev in September.
When Anheuser-Busch InBev bought Golden Road Brewing in September, many craft beer drinkers in Los Angeles, who’d followed the local brewery's rapid growth and expansion, were not surprised. There was a sentiment repeated in tweets, Internet forums and comment threads that Golden Road was "built to sell."
It's easy to grasp that narrative; Golden Road was different than the other upstart breweries that strove to transform L.A. into a craft beer destination. Golden Road started off bigger than nearly every other craft brewery in Los Angeles and grew faster than all of them. At the time of the sale, Golden Road was on pace to produce more than 45,000 barrels of beer a year (the next largest L.A. brewery could only produce a quarter of that), and Golden Road distributed its beer across California and into neighboring states.
But Tony Yanow, one of the founding partners of Golden Road Brewing, wants to put the "built to sell" rumors to rest.
"We didn’t have a single conversation about selling the brewery before August ,” he said during his first interview about the sale. “There was not a thought about selling until then.”
So what changed in August? Yanow says there were a few reasons behind the sale, but it boils down to how quickly the craft beer marketplace has changed over the lifespan of the brewery, especially in Los Angeles. Simply put, he says it was an “if you can’t beat them, join them situation.”
“It’s just business," said Yanow. "I don’t think of it as selling out. I didn’t sell out my soul, I didn’t sell out my love for beer. I sold my business, and I find it hard to believe that anyone in my shoes wouldn’t have done it too.”
It turns out that the challenge of operating a midsize craft brewery isn’t so much making the beer, it’s getting that beer into bars and, even more importantly, onto shelves.
“In a world where the amount of shelf space is not growing, but the number of breweries is growing so quickly, it’s a fight to get your beer [into major retailers],” said Yanow. And it is a fight that is becoming increasingly difficult as the biggest players in the beer world continue to consolidate, acquire more brands and strengthen their grip on distribution networks and retail accounts.
Yanow said the Golden Road Brewing executive team was already feeling the pressure before last summer’s spate of acquisitions, and they knew the waters would get tougher ahead.
“When Meg [Meg Gill, co-founder of Golden Road] said they wanted to buy us, it was surprising, but it was also a relief,” said Yanow, even though he said that he wanted nothing more than to run the brewery until he retired. "Maybe my daughter would take it over some day," said Yanow. But the offer was too good to pass up.
Financial details of the purchase were not disclosed, but Yanow said “there wasn’t really any reason to say no to that deal. They treated us really well, they gave us a really good valuation and they promised to keep all our people employed and give them opportunities for advancement.” Yanow is particularly happy with that final stipulation. “I wouldn’t have done it without that agreement in place,” he said (www.latimes.com/food/dailydish/la-dd-golden-road-brewery-20160118-story.html).
The deal comes in a big month for M&A activity among brewers. MillerCoors bought Saint Archer Brewing Company earlier in September, with only 35,000 barrels projected for 2015. Dutch brewing giant Heineken’s entry into the craft beer category was more bold with a 50% stake in Lagunitas, the sixth-largest craft brewer in the U.S. Meanwhile, AB InBev’s Goose Island unit bought a majority stake in Virtue Cider Co.
The world’s biggest beer makers have been angling to tap rising interest in the craft category, which generated $19.6 billion in retail sales last year and now accounts for 11% of the total beer market, according to industry trade group the Brewers Association. As craft brewers continue to churn out strong volume growth, bigger brewers are facing flat or even declining growth. Sales to retailers slipped 2.2% for AB InBev in the second quarter of 2015, worse than the industry’s 1% drop.
AB InBev said it began to rethink its role in the U.S. beer industry about five years ago, starting with its purchase of Chicago-based Goose Island. The world’s largest brewer is also thinking much bigger: Earlier this month it confirmed talks of a possible merger with SABMiller (http://fortune.com/2015/09/23/anheuser-busch-golden-road/).
Golden Road Brewing (AB InBev)
Brewer rating: 96/100 1277 ratings
5410 W San Fernando Rd, Los Angeles, California, USA 90039 (www.ratebeer.com/brewers/golden-road-brewing-ab-inbev/13484/)
"I don’t think of it as selling out," Yanow says, adding: "I didn’t sell my soul." He goes on to say that anyone being offered what he was by the multinational corporation would have done the same thing too.
Mostly the conversation centers around distribution, and the proliferation of craft beers that can squeeze out shelf space even for medium-to-large breweries like Golden Road. What’s more, with heavy consolidation at the top, there’s less and less incentive for distributors — many of whom enjoy outsized influence at the state level in America — to spend their time working with the little guys. As co-founder Meg Gill said at the time of the sale, it was in some ways important to concede status as an independent in favor of joining the "winning team."
The piece also hints at what’s next for Yanow, whose Tony’s Darts Away and Mohawk Bend properties were not a part of the sale. He says he’s done trying to make the next big brewery, and will instead focus on smaller, more intimate projects locally and out of town. Plus, as he says somewhat cheekily, Yanow "[has] some of AB’s money" now, so he can do whatever he pleases within the craft beer world (http://la.eater.com/2016/1/21/10809302/tony-yanow-golden-road-brewing-sale-interview).