Old Stump Brewing’s history chronicles the journey from an ancient brewing tradition to an idea, and from a hobby to a thriving business celebrating hard work and life with fine beer.
Planting the Seed
Founders Harald and Barbara were in Seattle when news reached them of an American financial crisis. The housing bubble had burst, and the impact on the financial industry was immediate and severe. So, how does a financial crisis relate to brewing? Harald operated mortgage banks and related financial institutions, and the crisis hit hard. That night, Barbara and Harald’s conversation turned to making a living away from the uncertainties of financial markets. That conversation planted the seed that grew into Old Stump Brewing Company.
From Hobby to Passion
Neither Barbara’s law enforcement background nor Harald’s financial business experience related directly to brewing. True, Harald moved here from Austria with his mother, grandmother and sister when he was three years old. And while Austria makes excellent beer, Harald’s family brewed it for their personal consumption and to share with friends, and not to sell commercially.
The family gave Harald a home brewing kit in 2007. He took to the hobby immediately and soon created his own recipes, testing them with extended family and friends. Barbara hails from Italian roots and enjoyed hosting and attending celebrations, giving Harald a perfect platform to display his latest creations. Whether they were being polite or sincere, people regularly complimented Harald on his beer.
The financial markets retained their volatility and finally, Harald, Barbara and long-time business partner Liz committed to opening a brewery in 2013. That year, they moved the brewery into their current location and spent the next two years building the brewing infrastructure and furnishing the tap room. They put their stamp on everything, making the tap room tables, pouring the concrete bar tops and more. The only thing they bought were stools…. and commissioned a beautiful 60×20 foot mural painted by the famous muralist Jonas Never.
The Pomona Tap Room Opens!
The three partners poured everything into the building and, after two years, had nearly exhausted their resources – not to mention their energy and patience. Finally, Pomona issued the certificate of occupancy on September 10, 2015. Twenty-four hours later, the Old Stump Brewing Company opened its Pomona tap room.
Celebrations ensued, but hard work lay ahead if the business was to thrive. Old Stump Brewery needed customers. Barbara worked tirelessly enlisting a handful of local restaurants to tap their beer and participated in as many festivals as possible. The journey had started a new leg.
Today, the tap room bustles with patrons enjoying the fine craft brews and the always-changing food truck cuisine. Old Stump Brewing’s founders wanted their tap room to serve as a place of celebration for customers, regardless of the occasion. And they succeeded, with something happening nearly non-stop. The tap room provides the ideal canvas for any event with scheduled entertainment, celebrity drop-ins and customer get-togethers.
Opening Our Pomona Craft Brewery
The business opened, tapping five of Harald’s favorite beer recipes. That starting lineup included an IPA, a Blonde Ale, a Red Ale, a Milk Stout and a Hefeweizen. Harald expanded his brewing knowledge and skills, taking classes and refining his recipes while setting up and testing the brewery’s 15 barrel state-of-the-art brewing equipment. Scaling recipes to retain their flavor and characteristics from five gallons to hundreds requires technical skill and a fine sense of smell, taste and sight.
Awarded for Our Efforts
Our brewing team grew bringing on Jeff Dechant as Old Stump’s head brewer, as well as 2 assistant brewers. Today, the beer menu boasts over 20 Austrian, German and European-inspired beers with something to please every beer lover’s taste. Old Stump Brewery offers IPAs, Light Beers, Middle of the Road Brews, Dark Beers, Sours and Hard Seltzers. The brewery won its first three awards in 2018, a laudable achievement in less than three years of operation, if we say so ourselves.
The beer continues to take top honors in many categories. A recent success came from the San Diego Brewers Guild Craft Beer Con 2021. The Raspberry Lemonade Gose took Gold there, and the Dodger organization liked it so much that it’s one of only three craft beers tapped at Dodger Stadium. Now that’s a home run!
Most recently Old Stump won a Bronze Medal at the San Diego International Beer Competition for our Nice Day On The Peach Hard Seltzer.
Join Us on Our Journey
Yes, awards are welcome and exciting, a testament to our brewers’ skills. But at Old Stump Brewing Company, we don’t brew for contests and panelists; we brew for our customers. We invite you to stop by and try the fruits of our labors. Let us know how we do as we continue writing the story of Old Stump Brewing Company. We’ll see you on the patio!