Steel Bonnet Brewing Company owners Sue and Donald Cramb plan to take more of an operations role, helping with coordination between the two locations in Scotts Valley and now in Salinas. (Contributed)

Steel Bonnet Brewing Company has announced the opening of a brand-new production brewery in Salinas, representing a significant increase in production capacity over their current brewery in Scotts Valley and providing the opportunity for significant expansion of growth both at the tap room and in distribution.

Several years ago, due to the growing popularity of their Scotts Valley taproom, Steel Bonnet owners Sue and Donald Cramb decided to expand production.

“We talked about expanding our current location in Scotts Valley, but due to some restrictions, we had to consider other locations, initially in Santa Cruz and Watsonville,” explains Donald Cramb. “However, we quickly realized that the availability of space was very limited. We then started to look further afield and eventually found a pretty ideal location in Salinas.”

So the Crambs signed a lease for a brand-new space on Work Street in Salinas in 2019. 

Then, Covid hit. Two years of pandemic restrictions inhibiting development, followed by a shortage of architects, engineers and contractors.

“We had to stop all plans to move forward on this front,” Donald Cramb recalls. “But thanks to all of the support from our community who gave us the confidence to keep this project going, and for always showing up—even when we couldn’t physically show up—we are finally ready to announce the grand opening of what we’re dubbing the ‘Steel Bonnet Work Street Production Facility.’”

With this facility, Steel Bonnet Brewing will be able to brew up to 10 times more beer, which means more beer on tap in Scotts Valley, and opportunities to sell to more locations, both in cans and on draft.

The new head brewer, Tyler Carney, will start to build a production team, while the Crambs plan to take more of an operations role, helping with coordination between the two locations. 

“We are fully committed to continuing brewing operations in Scotts Valley, and the Salinas expansion will allow us to employ the Scotts Valley brewery more as a pilot brewery focused on recipe development, experimentation and small batch ‘special’ beers,” says Donald Cramb. “You can expect not just more beer to come out of Steel Bonnet, but also more styles, flavors and aromas.”

Future plans for this growing brewery include self-distribution initially to a limited number of existing wholesale customers (those mainly based in Santa Cruz and Monterey counties) and expanding from there, distributing their beer in both the tri-county and Bay areas. 

Then in the second half of 2024, they plan on opening a tap room in the Salinas area fostering the same family-oriented, pub atmosphere as the Scotts Valley location. Canning runs will return and barrel aging programs will expand. 

“It is very exciting, and a little scary, to see how our beer will be received in a broader context,” says Donald Cramb.

Steel Bonnet will be hosting an event to celebrate their eight-year anniversary and the Work Street expansion, at their Scotts Valley taproom located at 20 Victor Square B on Saturday, Sept. 30, from 12-9pm. Expect food, games, music and lots of great beer.

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A staff member wrote, edited or posted this article, which may include information provided by one or more third parties.


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