Brew, serve, love: Family, friends support brewmaster’s return 

Co-owners Norma and Tony Santa Cruz, front right, join their family members from left, Denisse and Michael Calvo, Kris, Joslynn, Ryan and David Santa Cruz in their new Santa Cruz Brewing Co. in Valencia on Friday, 011924. Dan Watson/The Signal

Even as Telco Brewery was announcing its plans to close over the summer, Anthony Santa Cruz knew he hadn’t brewed his last batch.  

Brewing is a passion he’s had for decades, and on a recent Friday, his family talked about how they’ve supported his passion and watched it grow over the years.  

And now they are full-on partners in their newest venture: Santa Cruz Brewing. 

Anthony Santa Cruz said support coalesced from his closest friends and his family to make this new business possible.  

The founding members, as he called them, will be recognized with tributes when he reopens the brewery on Fremont Court in the Valencia Industrial Center. The group helped him put together the investment needed to purchase some of the equipment back that was put to auction after Telco closed.  

His goal is for a launch in April, since he just received a new license to brew last week, and he expects the process from equipment preparation to final product to take about that long to do properly. 

Joslynn, left, and Ryan Santa Cruz examine a pallet of 55 pound bags of special grain for their first batch of beer in the new Santa Cruz Brewing Co. in Valencia on Friday, 011924. Dan Watson/The Signal

Santa Cruz said the support of family and friends was part of the inspiration for the brewery’s new tree-dominated logo: a nod to its setting and those who made it all possible.  

“With the tree, we want people to know that it’s Santa Cruz in Santa Clarita, that’s what we’re doing,” he said, with roots that represent the founding members of the brewery who made it possible. 

“There’s such a symbolism to the trees with their roots, and there’s a grounding, and we love the fact that Santa Clarita is known for their oak trees,” he said. “It was really easy for us to decide on our symbolism.” 

In addition to supporters from Telco, the roots are intertwined with his family members who were running around on a Friday morning, making preparations for the place’s pending opening: Santa Cruz’s wife, Norma; his daughter, Denisse Calvo; his son-in-law, Michael Calvo; his dad, David Santa Cruz; his brother, Kris Santa Cruz; Kris’ wife, Joslynn; and their son, Ryan. His sister and some others were absent because she just had a baby, he added.  

The motif of the new business will reflect life in Santa Clarita for the Santa Cruz family and their friends, he said, which includes an enjoyment of classic cars, some of which will have beers named after them, and one of the family’s pastimes, fishing.  

The names of the brewery’s biggest supporters will be on the tanks, he said, because one thing he loves about Santa Clarita is its sense of community and a family-based atmosphere. 

“I think that the closeness of the community, the fact that even though it’s one of the biggest cities in the county, there’s still that small-town feel to it,” he said, explaining what he enjoys about his hometown. “You can literally go to downtown Newhall and run into somebody, and to say that and be the size of the city that we are, you can’t say that for Los Angeles or any of those other large cities.” 

Co-owners Tony and Norma Santa Cruz stand next to the fermenting tanks in their new Santa Cruz Brewing Co. in Santa Clarita on Friday, 011924. Dan Watson/The Signal

Appreciating the process 

Anthony Santa Cruz said his brews started off as light lagers, his preference when he began. Initially, he wasn’t a fan of IPAs, he said. 

Then, he says, he started experimenting with the hops, “reintroducing himself” as he put it — and fell in love with what he called “the learning process.” 

“You start experimenting with the hops and then all of a sudden, the hops start to grow and you grow the flavor profiles,” he said. “And then you get into that, and then you realize what you tasted without having the beer alcohol aspect to it.” 

He started to love mixing and creating flavors in IPAs, he said. And it allowed him to combine another passion, using handiwork and construction skills he learned from his dad. 

“And that’s the kind of stuff that was very intriguing about brewing, is you start off in one direction, knowing that you like these beers and you’re making them,” he said.  

The Santa Cruz family built, constructed or installed most of the features inside Santa Cruz Brewing Co., from the massive tanks against the wall to the concrete countertop.  

“I’m gonna say it’s almost just as much of the brewing process is the engineering and the building, the developing part of it,” he said in terms of the work to get the brewery open.  

Michael Calvo, an attorney, and Denise Calvo, who works at College of the Canyons’ Learning Center, aren’t big beer drinkers. Michael Calvo said he has enjoyed a stout Anthony Santa Cruz has brewed and Denise Calvo said she enjoys the seltzers her dad makes.  

David, left, and Kris Santa Cruz prepare a beer canning machine in the new Santa Cruz Brewing Co. in Valencia on Friday, 011924. Dan Watson/The Signal

But really, it’s about supporting his passion. 

“When he started everything, I was like, ‘Yeah, this is gonna be awesome,’ and we want to fully support him however we can,” Michael Calvo said. 

Kris Santa Cruz helped his brother out during the Telco effort, and said he expects to do the same this time around, and now that his son Ryan just turned 21, he might be helping more also. 

“I think I’ll probably be behind the bar a little more,” Kris Santa Cruz said, although he also expressed interest in learning more about the brewing process. 

Anthony Santa Cruz is clearly the organization’s brewmaster for the time being, though. 

“You have to have a passion in anything you do, and he has the passion,” said Joslynn Santa Cruz, of her brother-in-law’s love of brewing.  

Kris Santa Cruz recalled Anthony’s early brewing days with a brew kit and “a big stove in the back.” 

“He always, always was working on beer — it was very cool,” Joslynn added. 

Kris Santa Cruz joked that they’ve been enjoying his brewing experiments for years, “So we figured we might as well invest.” 

More information about the business can be found on its Instagram page @santacruzbrewing. 

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