Home brewing started as a hobby for Bridgette Berry, a way to have fun and experiment with a process that has become a craze of sorts for more than one million Americans. As the years passed and Berry began to learn more and more about the science of brewing beer, it didn’t take the Sonora native long to come up with ideas about transforming her passion into a full fledged business.
Rather than go the route of simple brewery, however, Berry’s plans included the melding of arguably the two most popular drinks in the country – beer and coffee.
“A lot of studies are out there that go after the two drinks together,” Berry said. “They go hand in hand when it comes to a lot of consumer and likes.”
The plan to target two different demographics with a combination business seemed like a no-brainer for Berry who meticulously plotted the ins and outs of this idea while earning her Master’s in Business from Stanislaus State University.
After graduating in 2010, Berry began to build towards her dream. She found her branding, naming her operation after the founding date of her new home of Modesto, and soon enough she found a location in the heart of downtown. The dream of opening a community-based Nano brewery was soon to be realized when Berry and entrepreneurs around the country were hit with a reality nobody could have planned for – the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent public shutdown.
Berry’s hand was forced to open business way ahead of schedule on Aug. 14 despite heavy restrictions and other logistical headaches.
“It’s not really what I had planned for or expected. In general it’s just hard doing business,” Berry said. “We’re trying to adapt and do some to-go promotions and really capture the audience that want to come in …but it’s definitely a different world. We’ve had to flex our business plan.”
Even with the added difficulty of dealing with a pandemic, 18Seventy Brewing Co. was not derailed. Currently open only on weekends with patio seating and to-go orders, there are eight beers on tap and available for purchase, three of which are brewed onsite.
“We have Bail Blonde Ale, Rough Start IPA and ChulaCabra Black IPA,” Berry said.
Future plans include a 20-beer self-tap system along with a dedicated beer garden. There will also be nitro coffee and Kampuchea on tap for the less alcohol-inclined consumer along with other cold brew and even ice cream variants.
“It’s about variety,” Berry said. “On the coffee end, our goal is not to be Starbucks. It’s more for the experience and the one-offs.”
Although the timeline is uncertain, Berry’s current plans have 18Seventy Brewing Co. approaching its full potential before year’s end.
18Seventy Brewing Co. is located at 911 J St. in Downtown Modesto. They are open 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. Fridays, 12 p.m. to 9 p.m. Saturdays, and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday.