Santa Cruz SBDC

Shanty Shack Brewing

“Under the guidance of the SBDC we were able to navigate the building permit process, secure crowd and private funding, and build the brewery of our dreams.” – Nathan Van Zandt

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Shanty Shack Brewing began in the back yard of a typical Santa Cruz beach shack on Chanticleer Ave.  With a loving community of friends and housemates, all of whom were thirsty, Nathan Van Zandt began brewing experimental beers.  But giving his thirsty friends beer for free (as much as they deserved it) was not sustainable.  He signed up for a business class at Cabrillo college and little did he know a great friendship and exciting journey lay ahead.

Brandon Padilla sat in class, he also envisioned a brewery of his own and he also came from a loving community of beer-thirsty friends.  The two joined forces and began putting together events in an old Church where Brandon and crew lived.  They brought together their friends with all sorts of talents; musicians, artists, craft makers, chefs, dancers.  They called it Beer Church and the experimental flavors flowed through the crowd, delighting and uniting.

But it was not enough, Nathan and Brandon had more flavors in mind.  They started bottling their beers and delivering them like the milk man to friends and family.  They called it a CSB (community supported brewing) and modeled it after the boxes of farm fresh produce offered by local farms called a CSA (community supported agriculture).  This gave the brew brothers freedom  to explore new styles and new ingredients.  Mint, sage, lemon verbena, lavender, jasmine, ginger, and beets all went into their beers.  IPA’s, saisons, Belgians, stouts, sours, and bitters, the styles kept on coming.  With each delivery poetry and prose accompanied the different flavors so that the drinker could fully understand the creation.  With each delivery the old bottles were collected washed and reused.

They started collaborating with local chefs to put together beer and food pairings.  They took their beer on the road and on their backs to music festivals and camp outs.  They buried sours and barleywines in beautiful places where someday they could return and enjoy them, aged to perfection under the natural beauty of their setting. 

All the while, their business plan was fermenting, their brewing skills were maturing, and they hunted down a location like a long lost recipe.  They finally found it in May 2015, an old warehouse with a large parking lot in the Harvey West neighborhood.  Visions of a patio and tasting room quickly blossomed, a lease was signed and a new journey began.