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2 Friends Brewing Up Plan to Expand Beer Hobby in West Valley

Street Sign brewers Vic Chachounian (left) and Ryan Rodger. (Photo Credit: Street Sign Brewing).
Street Sign brewers Vic Chachounian (left) and Ryan Rodger. (Photo Credit: Street Sign Brewing).
A pair of West Valley home brewers have a shared dream of moving their beloved hobby to the next level by opening a brewery and taproom somewhere in their backyard.

Old friends Ryan Rogers and Vic Chouchanian, two of the brains behind Street Sign Brewing, are shopping around Northridge and Chatsworth for an industrial space to brew their California Wheat, Domestic Stout and other beer offerings in bigger quantities.

"We're trying to bring brewing culture to the San Fernando Valley," said Chouchanian, a math teacher by day. "There's 1.7 million people in the valley and no brewing culture at all."

But there's no shortage of obstacles from the get go.

Though he's optimistic he and his partners will find a place to brew close to home, the concept of craft brewing sounds foreign to most landlords in the area, Chouchanian said.

"The number one reason owners of complexes don't want a brewery in their facility is because they either don't know what a microbrewery is or it brings a bad type of vibe like a criminal element," he said.

Rogers, a maintenance worker for the Los Angeles Unified School District, said he'd like to follow the example of Eagle Rock Brewing, which in November 2009 became the first production brewery to open in the city of Los Angeles in more than 60 years.

"Our goal is to be a production brewery with a taproom, pretty much on par with Eagle Rock," he said.

The goal for now is to have space big enough for more than a dozen 31-gallon barrels for bottling, a tap and filling growlers, Rogers said.

Many Southland communities like Torrance and Redondo Beach are welcoming breweries with open arms, but things seem to be a little trickier to get off the ground in LA.

In an interview with the Daily Breeze, the owners of an upcoming brewery in Van Nuys dubbed MacLeod Ale Brewing Co. had to deal with a morass of phone calls, meetings and other regulatory proceedings that pushed back their anticipated opening date from July to early 2014.

Local City Councilman Mitch Englander, however, is already offering his support to Street Sign Brewing.

"These breweries are a new trend in society meant to be more upscale establishments geared towards aficionados of craft brewing. While first and foremost, we want to promote responsible behavior; modern microbreweries are not nightclubs or the old fashioned watering holes," Englander said. "In fact, the Northwest San Fernando Valley is a hub for craft foods and host of the largest food truck night in Los Angeles. This is a continuation of that trend."

Once brewing space is secured, Chouchanian said he's ready to start working with the city on getting things moving toward his dream project despite a challenging road ahead.

"People want local breweries lust like local food and local drinks," he said. "It's all about local now. If LA refuses to get on that, they're going to lose out."

What do you think about having a brewery and a taproom in Northridge or Chatsworth?
Dorothy B. Hoffman September 10, 2013 at 01:28 PM
I'm not a beer drinker, but I think it would be great to have such a place in the Northridge/Chatsworth area. I like trying beer and wine even if I don't become a big fan it is a fun adult activity and there are lots of people who would love such an establishment. Depending on type of space desired there restaurant space in the shopping center on the SW corner of Tampa and Nordhoff where some coffee shop and Sarku Teriyaki used to be.
Jock September 10, 2013 at 01:50 PM
Plenty of empty space for the taking here boys !! Create the ultimate West Valley IPA. You certainly have our blessings. Why even Mitch is all for you (Don't let him near a Pot dispensary though).
Charles Mumford September 10, 2013 at 02:32 PM
"There's 1.7 million people in the valley and no brewing culture at all." Hmmmm.... ever heard of The Maltose Falcons? In addition to the Van Nuys brewery mentioned in the article, I also know of small brewery in Pacoima that's nearing completion. Due to landlord restrictions, however, they will not have a tasting room.
Arin Mikailian (Editor) September 10, 2013 at 02:39 PM
Hi, Charles: Vic and Ryan are actually active members of the Maltose Falcon...I believe Vic was just referring to the overall lack of breweries.
Diana Dixon-Davis September 10, 2013 at 03:34 PM
Sounds Great--maybe also a show place for local bakers and cooks??? Some place with a viewing aisle, a back patio with chairs and tables, shaded by overhead pergolas planted with grape vines??? How romantic in the evening if you added some mini lights entwined with the wood slats of the pergola!!!
Paul Shively September 12, 2013 at 12:12 AM
As experts in new business start ups and removing obstacles, my office is available to assist these two rising stars!
archie's bunker September 12, 2013 at 01:30 AM
Great.. I hope they do well. (Prohibition be damned)...Apparently Englander supports certain homegrown 'mood enhancing' endeavors. -------------------- "People want local breweries lust like local food and local drinks," he said. "It's all about local now. If LA refuses to get on that, they're going to lose out."---------------------------------------------------- The obvious Freudian slip indicative of somethin else bustin thru. No, no. Of course, Not. -----------------------------------------------"Ceci n'est pas une pipe"

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