Desert Beer Company just weeks away from becoming Palm Springs’ 4th Craft Brewery
Update 4/14/19: As of our latest news, we have Desert Beer Co scheduled to open in June.
There’s great news to launch a new year on the Coachella Valley Beer Scene: Greater Palm Springs has another new brewery on the horizon. Desert Beer Company is hoping to open in Palm Desert, in March of this year. The man behind Desert Beer is Devon Sanchez, who most locals will recognize as the former Taproom Manager at Coachella Valley Brewing.
Devon left his position at Coachella Valley Brewing a few months ago to embark on this project. But it wasn’t until the new year, with TTB and liquor license in hand, as well as a building taking shape, that he wanted to make an official announcement. This week I got to visit Devon’s 2,650 square foot facility. We paced around as Devon painted the layout for me, talked about his plans, his struggles, in addition to all things craft beer.
Devon has a long history in wine and craft beer. After graduating in Political Science, he decided that a life in politics wasn’t for him, and that he just wanted to make wine. He worked at Alderbrook Winery in California and Awatere River Wine Company in New Zealand. His passion for craft beer dated back to his student days in San Diego – where better? – where he also homebrewed, later going on to work at Tied House, Hermitage, and Faultline Brewing.
He found his base, more recently, at Coachella Valley Brewing. Locals know him as the welcoming face of the taproom, but he started as a cellar man before the brewery opened in 2013. He worked the brewery for two years before being promoted to Taproom Manager. And it was in this role, that Devon really made a connection to the local craft beer community.
That rapport is really what drove him to open up his own place. It was the idea of just making beer, as well as having free reign to do things his own way. But more importantly it was, “the craft beer culture bringing together some of the friendliest people you’ll ever meet,” that really inspired him.
Desert Beer Company is in a fantastic location. It’s off Country Club, a block away from Washington and the I-10 freeway, in the same shopping center as EOS Fitness, La Casita, Alps Village, Schnitzelhaus, China Wok, and a myriad of smaller restaurants. While not adjacent to the main street, we noted how many cars passed through the backroad in our time there.
It’s also a very spacious setting. After entering through a lobby area, which Devon may use for additional seating, there’s a partition leading to the taproom and open brewery. Capacity is currently approved for 50 people. His brew equipment is a dual 3-barrel system (6 barrels in all), which will allow great flexibility for small batch specialties, as well as freshness. He’ll have six fermenters in the brewery, as well as 3 small 3-barrel fermenters in the entrance. The bar will have 16 tap handles, although the opening will only likely see him filling 6 to 10 of those.
His plans are to specialize in approachable, session-able beers that are well suited to the desert climate. He mentioned his favorite styles as Saisons and Farmhouse ales, as well as a Berlinerweisse, a Belgian Wit and a Cream Ale, and of course, IPA’s. His system will allow for a lot of one-off’s, but he does envisage half of his line up being core brands. He’ll also have craft sodas and cold brewed coffee on tap.
While he’ll have help in the taproom from his girlfriend Tera, among others, the brewery will initially be a one man show. That said, he does draw great inspiration from the local craft beer and homebrew community, having made many friends in his time in the industry. Plans include inviting guest brewers and homebrew competitions to brew on his system.
While enthusiastic about the possibilities, Devon is keeping his feet planted firmly on the ground.
His system will allow him to brew about a hundred barrels a month, although his initial focus will be on keeping the taproom busy, selling pints, growlers, and kegs to go. But he will also have the ability to sell kegs to local bars and restaurants, a few of which have already expressed an interest.
Having known Devon for a while through CVB, you can’t help but escape his enthusiasm and energy. The taproom will be open 6 days a week, he told me. He’ll be brewing in the morning, and assisting in the taproom in the afternoons and evenings. Tireless work for an obviously tireless man.
We’re extremely excited about this impending opening, and even more so to see Devon Sanchez heading it. Back in June, I wrote about the lack of breweries in our local area. California has about one brewery per 40,000 people. The Coachella Valley has only about a third of that. And while our demographic may not be as young, progressive, or knowledgeable as our west coast neighbors, that’s still a huge discrepancy, especially given that a great deal of our tourism comes from the rich brewing cities of Los Angeles and San Diego. Additionally, the local market for craft beer will only improve as more craft beer becomes available. And to that extent, Desert Beer Company will be a welcome addition to our three existing valley breweries.
I’m sure that Coachella Valley locals will be equally excited. We’ll keep you posted as Desert Beer Company gets closer to opening.