Bottlecraft Beer: Interview with Brian Jensen

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What is the name of your/ the business and social media handle?

  • Bottlecraft Beer Shop and Tasting Room
  • Locations in Little Italy, North Park, Liberty Station and Solana Beach
  • Instagram:
    • @Bottlecraft
    • @BottlecraftSolanaBeach
  • Facebook:
  • Twitter:
    • @Bottlecraft
    • @BottlecraftSB

How did the name come about and how long have you been here?

“Coming up with the name was hard! I brainstormed for weeks with friends and we somehow landed on “Bottlecraft” and luckily it wasn’t trademarked so I jumped on it. I opened the first Bottlecraft location in Little Italy in 2011.”

What is your role at the company?

“Hmmmm…everything! I guess I’m the Founder / CEO now, which means I dabble in just about every part of the business from buying, hiring, marketing, etc, etc, etc.”

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How did you get started?

“After getting my BA in Business Communications at Point Loma Nazarene University, I moved to New York to go to culinary school at the French Culinary Institute. There I learned about cooking as well as wine and beer. In the years after culinary school I worked in every aspect of the hospitality industry including cooking, brewing, and wine sales.

When I moved back to San Diego I worked a bunch of odd jobs while I was figuring out what I wanted to do. I knew I wanted to open my own business, I just didn’t know what. I wrote about twenty different business plans and shared them with my family and friends. The idea for Bottlecraft, which was influenced by some time I had worked at a wine boutique in Brooklyn, was the one that I got the best feedback from, so I dug in and figured out how to make it happen.

A small beer shop and bar was easy enough for me to open and run cheaply (I bootstrapped the first shop with a mix of savings and borrowed money from family). That first shop did well and I had the opportunity to open another shop in North Park, and then Liberty Station and most recently Solana Beach just last year. The Solana Beach location came about because the owner of BeerWorks wanted to sell and reached out offering me the opportunity.”

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What is your favorite thing about the business?

“Well, it’s hard not to like the subject matter – Beer! But my favorite thing is the people I interact with including my team, as well as the local brewers and beer industry folks. They’re fun and pretty laid back.”

What’s the best part about being in North County?

“I live down in South Park, so I love coming up to check in on the shop and then head out to surf.”

How do you feel your business reflects/ fits in the community?

“Craft beer is a part of San Diego County’s DNA. With over one hundred breweries spread out around the county, Bottlecraft is a centralized spot to check out a variety of new and exciting beers being made here in San Diego as well as around the state and country.”

Do you know about BLOC and what we’re about?

“Yes!”

Knowing more about us, is there a way for us to collaborate/ work together?

“I’d love for BLOC members to swing by for a happy hour!”

Do you have anything exciting coming up in the future?

“We are working on a new location in Sorrento Valley that should open in the next couple months.”

Did you always see yourself doing something like this?

“No, I knew I wanted to be an entrepreneur – my parents owned their own company – but I didn’t fully understand what that would look like for me. When I opened the first Bottlecraft I thought that would be it, I figured I’d work there and maybe have one or two employees. In reality, opportunity opened up doors and my team grew, offering me new roles to grow into as the business has expanded.”

What was your very first or most memorable job?

“My most memorable job growing up was being a Beach Lifeguard in Huntington Beach. I lifeguarded every summer from the age of sixteen through college. It was a real growing experience for me to have a somewhat serious job that taught me responsibility, action and commitment. Also, hanging on the beach all day was pretty amazing.”

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