The Big Reveal: Last Name is the New Name
By: Sid Robinson
Dale Bros. Brewery is the last name in Inland Empire craft brewing. But as of May 1, Last Name Brewing is the last name in craft brewing.
Dale Bros. Brewery, one of the region’s pioneering craft breweries, has changed its name to Last Name Brewing. The announcement came at “The Big Reveal” event at the brewery on April 30th.
The move was actually necessary because when the owners decided to trademark their name, the United States Patent and Trademark Office turning down their application.
“It turns out there’s another Dale in craft brewing, and in all fairness, he was here first,” said Andy Dale.
His brother Curt Dale added, “While it was really hard to think about giving up our company’s name, we knew it was the right thing to do.”
Long considered the patriarch brewery for the region, Dale Bros. Brewery was established in 2003 by Curt Dale, who originally set up shop in 2001 in one of the back units of a business park on 9th Street in Upland. Curt’s brother Andy and Andy’s wife Karen McMillen joined the company in 2007, allowing the partners to share their responsibilities and separate the beer-making and business aspects of the operation.
“We opened as a growler-fill room and not a tasting room,” said Andy Dale. “We had a small retail business, and for a small brewery it is essential to have that retail business on-premises, because it is the best way to generate operating cash flow. You just can’t produce enough beer at the size we were to make an honest living solely through distribution. We struggled along for a while; we were a little capital-starved.”
In the early days, says Curt Dale, the goal wasn’t to build a major craft beer business, but to simply enjoy the craft of brewing beer. “It wasn’t that I wanted to make more beer to sell it. I wanted to sell more beer so I could afford to make more beer,” he said in an interview last year.
Dale Bros. found enough success to move to its current location in November 2012 in a newer industrial complex building near Cable Airport. The facility at 2120 Porterfield Way in Upland has allowed the brewery to expand production significantly, but it is once again busting at the seams.
Despite the name change and the continued growth, Last Name Brewing has no immediate plans to move from its current location. It will also continue to brew its popular flagship amber lager, Pomona Queen, along with a wide array of year-round, special and seasonal brews.
Sid Robinson authors a blog, “Sips, Suds and Spirits” (www.sipssudsspirits.com) that examines the beverage industry. He is managing partner of the strategic communications and public relations firm Robinson and Associates, LLC. (www.robinsonandassociates.us)