When Cassidy Jakovickas and Arthur Moye announced they would be taking over Full Circle Brewing Company back in May, it was with the promise of giving the downtown Fresno craft brewery new life and direction. They had a three-phase plan.
First, they would work on the beer – hiring a head brewer and adding and updating equipment with a focus on consistency and quality control. Changes to the building itself, which serves as the brewery’s bar and tap room and also a live entertainment venue, would follow suit. The final step would be adding production and getting the beer outside of the building and on to store shelves.
“We’re going to let the beer sales drive all that,” says Jakovickas, before a special open-house with Fresno mayor Ashley Swearengin earlier this week. The new owners officially took over at the end of last month and is releasing its first batch of brew – from head brewer Mike Sumaya – at a soft-opening 4 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 15.
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The brewery will then be open – and back to hosting events – from 4-11 p.m. Thursdays to Saturdays. Expect a grand-opening event sometime in October.
So far, the brewery has just two beers on tap: its signature Cluster Fuggle Cream Ale and the High Speed Rail Red Ale. A wheat beer and an IPA will be added within the next month, Sumaya says.
Central California Area Derby will host a roller derby match against Faultline Derby Devilz, Saturday, Sept. 17, at Full Circle. Info at: www.ccaderby.com
Sumaya, who previously worked at Riley’s Brewing, was careful to stay true to the brewery’s roots, especially when brewing the Cluster Fuggle. He mostly kept to the original recipe, though he did add Northern brewer hops to balance the beer’s natural sweetness. Any major changes in the brew come from equipment upgrades. The brewery added new fermenting tanks and a chiller that gives Sumaya complete temperature control throughout the process and allows him to keep beer in storage, without losing any quality, if needed.
Those familiar with Full Circle will notice some cosmetic changes, too.
The space behind the bar – once cluttered with an odd mix of old photographs, odd art works and eclectic memorabilia – has been refinished with wood reclaimed from pines destroyed by bark beetles, giving it a simple, clean look. The paper mache pirate ship still sits in the rafters.
They also moved some equipment and tore down several walls to open up the bar area. That area will now serve as the main seating area and entertainment space. The original stage, situated in the back of the building, can’t be used without major upgrades – something the owners discovered during the permitting process.
They also discovered there were others like them, who shared a vision for the brewery and downtown, Jakovickas says. So, he and Moye have added additional business partners to the team, including Fresno Grizzlies general manager Derek Franks. You can see more of the brewery in this video from Top Hand Media.