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February 6, 2023

What is all the buzz about?

I recently asked a colleague who lives in the San Lorenzo Valley if they’ve heard of any positive business experiences lately? 

“Haven’t you heard the buzz?” they asked.

“What buzz?” I fired back. 

The Humble Sea Tavern in downtown Felton, located in the old Cremer House, is indeed brewing up a buzz around the Valley.

I know many of us mourned the loss of the Cremer House during the pandemic, but to have a replacement like Humble Sea Tavern, was great news. I confess I am not a beer drinker, but I love food. And if you are a plant-based eater, they are thinking of us too. 

The Interview

I could hardly find a parking place next door to Wild Root Market in downtown Felton. As I approached the entrance, I could hear the noise of customers’ chatter. It was lively and buzzing. Seeing how busy they were on Saturday, I only wanted to get the manager’s name and leave my contact information. While looking at their menu, the aroma of the food got my attention. Beer drinker or not, I could not ignore the energy I was experiencing just standing outdoors in line. I did some homework.

Humble Sea Tavern opened on Feb. 23 with a working team of about 29. I spoke with their general manager, Danielle Byers-Sage. I knew they had two other locations: Humble Sea Brewing in Westside Santa Cruz, and Humble Sea Taproom & Kitchen in Pacifica, near San Francisco. I was curious about their vision for the future and delighted by Danielle’s response.

“Our goal is to bring the Humble Sea to the people. We want to provide a fun atmosphere with beer, grow incrementally, with no real national vision in mind yet, but offer taprooms, restaurants, and to-go spots,” she said. 

I confessed to not being a beer drinker and asked her to tell me more about beer making and why all the buzz about them.

What is Craft Beer?

To all you connoisseurs, you know that all beer is not equal. There is a big difference between craft beer, aka micro-brew beer, and industrialized beer. In craft beer, you use only malt, hops, yeast and water for brewing. No artificial additives, period. Compared with industrial beer, which has higher ingredient concentrations and production rates, they must purposely water down the product to compensate for their larger markets. 

The making of craft beer is an art, offering a variety of rich flavors and overall quality in comparison. Their production last year was 8,000 barrels of beer under this independently owned craft beer classification. This is good news because it offers freshness and robust flavors that no industrialized maker can offer. They also have a liquor license.

Three Locations, Three partners

On their website, Humble Sea says that their first homebrew was in 2009. “Our head brewer Nick Pavlina began homebrewing under the alias of Humble Sea. After several national homebrew medals, he pitched opening a brewery in late 2014 to cofounders Taylor West and Frank Scott Krueger. Collaboration occurred. A team formed. Humble Sea Brewing Co. ascended upwards and into the billowy fog of soft water profiles and Southern Hemispheric aromas.” I heard, too, that Nick, the director of the brewery, secretly keeps all the recipes in his head while overseeing the production of the brewery production. 

Making a Difference

I like writing articles about local businesses that make a difference in our community. Humble Sea supports local causes and organizations, such as beach clean-ups, Sip & Shop local events, the Diversity, Equality & Inclusion committee, and belongs to the Brewers Guild, to mention a few external activities they do. 

If you want the Humble Sea Experience, visit their website humblesea.com. They offer an online “brewsletter” and customers can get beer, T-shirts and more shipped to their homes via online orders. I may not be a beer drinker, but their “Humble Values”—Kooky, Humble, Innovative, Righteous, Accepting—sounds good.

Janet Janssen, Life Coach, Trainer and Public Speaker. She works with business owners and their staff for personal development and leadership skills. Contact her at [email protected] or 831-335-0553.

Janet Janssen
Janet Janssen is a Life in Business coach, instructor for Supervisory and Leadership Academy at Cabrillo College, Distinguished Toastmaster International speaker, board member of Leadership Santa Cruz County and co-founder of Women’s Business Network Group. Contact her at [email protected] or 831-335-0553.


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