This year has been a big one for Smog…but I feel like I say that every year.

With the addition of our second taproom, Smog City at SteelCraft in Bixby Knolls, and the construction of our amazing(and gigantic) Sour Cellar, we’ve felt like we’ve spent the last year trying to tame a wild horse. Porter and I have had to grow and learn from all of these new experiences in ways we never could have predicted. It’s fun. It’s scary. It’s exhausting and it’s rewarding.

So we’ve been asking ourselves, what will 2018 bring?

At home base, we’re in the midst of the largest expansion of our brewery’s since we opened in Torrance nearly 4.5 years ago. The South Cellar’s construction is well under way- giving new promise to increased limited and seasonal beers as well as our beloved year round releases like Little Bo, Smog City IPA, Sabre-Toothed Squirrel and Coffee Porter (My unabashed favorite) and then there’s the impending arrival of our “big boy” bottling line. It’s crazy to think that 2018 will see Smog City in 6 packs. <mind blown>

We’ve been watching the market and believe strongly that craft beer is finally making the shift from luxury to lifestyle. The introduction of 6 packs by many local craft breweries points to a decline of the single bottle sales(mostly year round beers, not special releases) and an increase in 6 packs- what we call “fridge beer”. This is a shift that we welcome with open arms at Smog.

Our “father’s beer” may be different from our own personal “go-tos” but the loyalty he felt towards his favorite beer is not that much different from your support for local taprooms….with so many choices in the market, your safe place is in the arms of your favorite brewery or breweries. We hope to be the “go-to” for many beer lovers in SoCal, a tried and true brewery that brews stellar beers while still testing and pushing the envelop.

So besides the construction, the 6 packs, the taproom in 2018, our highly anticipated sour program will finally hit its stride. Look for m0re releases of delicious wild and sour barrel-aged goodness, flowing in our taproom and available in small batch releases in the coming year. These experiments, and awesome triumphs, will allow us to push our creativity further.

This year some fan and brewery staff favorites included: A purple carrot and thyme sour called IT’S CARROT THYME!, TYPE OH NEGATIVE, a white wine barrel-aged blonde with black currants, rosemary, and juniper and, of course, the ever delicious and seasonal BRIX LAYER, a sour blonde blended with Riesling juice from our collaborators in Escondido, J. Brix Wines. This beer is directly linked to the wine harvest each year, leading to a “window of opportunity” and a flurry of activity as the grapes are harvested, crushed and rushed to our brewery for addition. A liquid reflection of the year’s harvest.

Our primary focus has always been on the beers, expressing creativity in the brewery and in our beers, but this year we have focused some of our attention on growing a sustainable company. One that prides itself on the quality of its product and the wealth of its culture: We are committed to supporting our staff who work so hard to help us realize our vision.

In 2017, we added a bunch of new employees to the Smog family! Tim Harbage, Cesar Alfaro, Toby Sandland, Josh Pickett, Eddie Padilla, Gabriel Velarde, Sawyer Fox, and Sam Pennington. We’re now totaling 26 employees! Amazing.

In July, we became a proud member of 1% for the Planet, committing 1% of our gross sales in wholesale and the Torrance taproom to non-profits that support and protect the environment. To promote those partnerships, we launched our Pints with Purpose series and so far we’ve partnered with Keep a Breast, Aquarium of the Pacific and our long standing partner, Food Forward! I love seeing the taproom bustling on Thursdays, together we are raising money while raising a glass of independent craft beer. And I especially enjoy the fun experiences our partners bring to the taproom. In November, we even had jellies as our special visitors!! You had to see it to believe it.

Smog City has always felt strongly about our impact on the environment; reuse, recycle, and reclaim have been a part of our brand since we started. Pushing into giving back directly to non-profits is a new route and one that may seem out there, but it feels so “Smoggy”! As always, we forge our own path..often cutting through the weeds to get there.

Smog City is deeply invested in our beers, our staff, our community, our environment- in an ever increasing determination to have a genuine impact on the world. If that is what we have achieved, even on a small scale, then we are proud to be Smog City.

Cheers and thank you for your support!

Laurie and Porter