By Taylor Villanueva
Signal Staff Writer
Jamie Hernandez and Tony Santa Cruz spend their days like most people — working at least 40 hours a week.
But they don’t go home after work.
Instead, they finish up at their jobs in telecommunications and rush to their second job, which they say is more like a hobby for them. They head to their brewery where, some days, Santa Cruz brews beer for seven or eight hours, interacting with curious customers and explaining the brewing process to them.
Hernandez and Santa Cruz opened Telco Brewery in September as a place where they can combine their interest and history in telecommunications with their love for brewing, good company and enjoying a satisfying beer.
“We both work at a telco (telecommunications) company and are home brewers,” says Hernandez. “Why not put those two things together when we opened our brewery?”
The walls of Telco Brewery are lined with pictures that show the history of telecommunications. Some show linemen working, while others show the evolution of telephone companies. Because of their commitment to both brewing and telecommunications, both Hernandez and Santa Cruz kept their day jobs.
“We still work for the telephone company,” says Hernandez.
“We thought, ‘They’re good jobs. If we can juggle both, let’s continue to do so.’”
They say their microbrewery is a place for all sorts of people. Some days the place attracts a younger crowd and some days bring more families. Even dogs are welcome.
“We’re dog friendly here,” Santa Cruz says.
The pair explain the reason for opening up their microbrewery in the SCV was twofold: They lived here at the time and they saw a need for breweries in Santa Clarita.
“At that time, there were only two breweries this style here,” says Santa Cruz. “As in, facilities within the tasting room.”
“It’s a smaller city and it’s easier to work with the city itself,” Hernandez agrees.
Plus, they get to communicate with their customers and create relationships with them.
Santa Cruz says his favorite parts of the job are being behind the bar and brewing the beer.
“The nights before we brew, sometimes I can’t sleep. I get excited to play with the new equipment. I also love meeting new people behind the bar and hanging out with them and getting to know them.”
And Hernandez agrees.
“I think for me, it’s a combination of being behind the bar and going to tables and talking to people. It creates a relationship with our patrons.”
But he isn’t just socializing.
“You get a lot of good feedback from patrons on what they think of the beer,” Hernandez said.
“We will constantly improve our beer, and you get that way by asking questions.”
The men say starting up their brewery has given them the opportunity to form a relationship with their customers.
“Most people like the fact the owners or people behind the counter come up and have a conversation with them,” says Hernandez. “We give them tours — I love giving them tours.”
Specifically, Hernandez and Santa Cruz give customers who ask tours of where their beer is made. Those people have the opportunity to ask any questions they have about the beer, from how long it takes to make to why the men gave each beer its particular name.
And each beer’s name also reflects telecommunications, from their citrus Static Haze to their Rotary Red.
But their beer that has won the most awards so far, which has proven itself to be a fan favorite, is the Muck Out Stout.
Hernandez and Santa Cruz have put a lot of their personalities into Telco Brewery. Santa Cruz and his wife made their bar countertop themselves, cementing it until it was just how they wanted it. They also made their own tabletops out of wood, giving every part of their brewery some part of themselves.
Santa Cruz says he and Hernandez have a great relationship with the other brewers in Santa Clarita. They often work with other breweries and wineries, so he says it’s a great community for them. The owners of Telco Brewery even get home brewers to come in and give them tastes of what they have brewed themselves- a throwback to Santa Cruz’s time when he first started as a home brewer.
For updates and information on Telco Brewery, follow their Instagram page.