El Cid Brewing expands footprint in North Park

Naval-themed beer op takes over next-door unit, adds tasting room amenities as it seeks to fund production-related project

It’s been two years since Eric Bridges and Terry Kallar took over the 2,000-square-foot North Park spot that once housed retail outlet, The Homebrewer, and its in-house beer operation, Home Brewing Co. Over that span, the duo has transformed the space into a sudsy shrine of sorts paying homage to the culture and camaraderie shared by U.S. Navy Chief Petty Officers. That motif was inspired by Bridges’ Naval service, during which he ascended to the rank of Senior Chief Petty Officer. 

Expectedly, active and retired military personnel have taken to the duo’s El Cid Brewing as well as its Armed-Forces-geared events and programming, and make up a significant portion of the business’ clientele. That embrace has been encouraging for Bridges and Kallar, enough that when an opportunity to expand their tasting room came their way, they jumped on it.

Following the relocation of previously neighboring business, Lang Books, the pair absorbed the 1,000 square feet it had occupied. They have since torn down the wall that separated that space to their taproom, and have plans to convert a portion of the unit into production space. El Cid is currently in the process of getting the newly acquired space properly zoned.

“This expansion is going to happen over time,” says Bridges. “I’m hoping we are finished with our goals by our two-year anniversary, which will take place on April 1 of next year.”

To raise capital for the expansion, El Cid is selling future-use gift cards via the company’s online store. As Bridges explains, it’s basically like pre-purchasing beer to be consumed in or after 2025 at a reduced price that increases if cardholders wait until 2026 to redeem the cards. The following are the different card tiers:

  • Silver ($100): 10% discount if redeemed after April 1, 2025; 15% discount after April 1, 2026
  • Gold ($250): 15% discount if redeemed after April 1, 2025; 20% discount after April 1, 2026
  • Platinum ($500): 20% discount if redeemed after April 1, 2025; 25% discount after April 1, 2026
  • Black ($1,000): 25% discount if redeemed after April 1, 2025; 30% discount after April 1, 2026

But not all of the changes at El Cid required a wait. The expansion added 400 square feet to the tasting room, which now features dart boards, cornhole and a new retail section called the “El Cid-tuation Room”. The latter features Naval apparel and memorabilia from businesses owned by veterans and retired Chief Petty Officers, including Anchor Up 1893, Mandatory Fun, Station 1893 and Steel Beach Designs

Bridges says the 400 square feet El Cid inherited doesn’t seem like much on paper, but equates to a lot in real life. So, too, does an adjustment to the tasting room’s operating hours and the addition of regular programming.

“Up until now, we have been closed Monday through Wednesday. Not only have we changed that, but we’re adding a variety of events for our patrons to enjoy,” says Bridges. “We have already started an open-mic comedy night every other Monday. We also plan to add weekly trivia nights, Thursday night paint-and-sip classes and more.”

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