It started as an idea between three longtime friends who liked to brew beer at home. What if we quit our day jobs, and made beer for a living?
After more than two years of planning, securing real estate, finding investors and installing large scale brewing equipment, Eric Tisch, Jon Verna, and Ed Gobbo opened the doors and taps to Harmonic Brewing on 26th and Minnesota streets this past summer. Tisch and Verna come to the business from careers in advertising; Gobbo has a background in chemical engineering and biopharmaceuticals. Their friendship was sparked through mutual contacts, school and work ties that go back more than a decade.
According to Verna, Harmonic’s head of operations, his team setup shop in Dogpatch because of price and potential. “This spot being on the edge was a little more affordable, but really more than anything the feel of this space was beyond our expectations of something we could actually get in the City,” said Verna.
Affordability is a key ingredient Harmonic Brewing wants to pass onto its customers. A five ounce taster is $3; a 12 ounce full pour is $5; and you can take home a 32 ounce bottle for $10. Although the facility is primarily for beer making, it also features a tasting bar, several tables, and cable television for sports fans.
Andy Caspersen has been a regular at Harmonic’s tasting room since the brewery opened. Although he lives in Marin, he used to work in Dogpatch, and comes to Harmonic every other week. “I really enjoy having fresh beer, so having a brewery here that’s local and knowing that you’re getting it right from the source, it really comes through in the beer,” said Caspersen. “Also, how many places in San Francisco can you park at?” he added, with a laugh.
Although the venture is new for the trio of cofounders, Tisch has professional experience with the beer business. After a 10 year career in advertising, Tisch moved to Colorado, where he eventually landed a job at Avery Brewing Company in Boulder. He moved back to San Francisco last winter, after it became clear that his friends were going ahead with their business plan, and now handles production. “This was just kind of a warehouse empty space when I got here and then four months later we had our tanks here,” said Tisch. “It was a very quick turnaround.”
According to Tisch, the focus now is on creating the best product possible and developing a loyal fan base. He believes Dogpatch is an ideal spot to reach these goals. “Being Downtown, we might see a lot more foot traffic, but this has the better long term growth potential for us,” said Tisch. “Plus, it’s just really fun down here, and the more people discover this area I think they see a lot of these secret businesses and parks and charm the neighborhood has.”
Verna added that in the short time Harmonic Brewing has been open Dogpatch residents have been quite welcoming. “The people that are here are very supportive and hyper local. They like hanging out in their own neighborhood even though they don’t have 500 restaurants and bars like the Mission does,” said Verna. “They have their core set of bars and restaurants that they really support and like to get to know the owners and the staff of.”