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Owner Cory Mathews and wife Jess are the tag team behind this micro brewery who are bringing craft beers all around the Coastal Bend region.
Relaxing at a table in his tap room, Cory Mathews is at home. "It was kind of freeing," Mathews relates, of breaking into the brewing business. Initially not a beer fan, Mathews was introduced to craft beer by his wife, Jess, and grew to enjoy it. Desiring to expand his beer knowledge, as well as lower the cost of purchasing beer, Mathews ordered a home brew kit in 2010. The first attempt at a home brew tasted terrible. Determined to make drinkable beer, Mathews, along with his cousin and some friends, learned how to brew tasty beer. They began doing so each Tuesday night. Friends caught wind of their new hobby, and each week people would show up to help brew and sample the beers. Mathews joined the local home brew club and expanded his knowledge and experience.
A year after that unpalatable first batch, Mathews and his wife founded Lazy Beach Brewing. Eventually securing a small warehouse for brewing, and after having all necessary inspections completed and paperwork approved, they sold their first batch at Cassidy's Irish Pub in June 2014. They quickly expanded to more locations and struggled to keep up with demand, quite a good problem to have. The market for local brew allowed the move to a location twice the size of their first. The larger brewery and tap room opened June 6th 2015, "one year to the day from our first sale," shares Mathews.
Completely self-financed, the brewery is now their only source of income. Mathews puts in about 80 hours of work a week, and says quitting his job to focus solely on brewing had its risks, but was "a fun little escapade." "We grew a ton last year. Five hundred and forty five percent," Mathews says, chuckling.
They now have up to ten beers at a time at the micro-brewery, up from three at their former facility. Each week, one beer drops off the menu and is replaced by a new one. Five of the listed beers can be purchased at different locations around town, while the other five beers are available only at the tap room. Encouraging patron participation, comment cards are handed out asking for new beer suggestions as well as how to modify their crowdsourced beer, the Corpus Christi. "Every time we make it, we change it based on the comment cards," Mathews explains. "It's designed by Corpus."
Inspiration for the brews comes from a variety of sources, from customer suggestions to cooking ingredients as well as other beers. Home-brewers' recipes have been featured in the tap room as well.
In addition to fantastic beer, an assortment of grub can be found at the brewery. A food truck parks outside the tap room each weekend. Several different food trucks rotate through and, "they're all really good," says Mathews.
Lazy Beach's Facebook page and website lists the new beer for the week, which food truck will be servicing the tap room, as well as upcoming events. Trivia nights have been held, and brewing classes are coming up.
The child-friendly location has games available outside, while indoors has seating closer to the bar. Televisions are not welcome. "When you're here, you have to talk to people," Mathews says, smiling. "It's not a bar. It has a whole different vibe," he explains, of the relaxed and laid-back atmosphere. Lazy Beach averages 150-200 patrons on Saturdays, with regulars coming each week to try the new beer.
The tap room is available for rental on days when it is normally closed, and it has been rented out several times. "It's just a place to have a beer, and it's your own little bar for the afternoon," says Mathews.
The couple has plans for expansion as the business grows. Growlers and canned beer are coming. "We are planning on canning, so you can take [the beer] to the beach and to the pool," Mathews explains. Growth is planned to be slow and self-financed. They will enlarge the tap room from its current 2100 square feet and build a huge cooler to support more locations off site as well as secure more businesses around town that sell their beer. Currently eighteen different locations carry Lazy Beach.
The growth they have already experienced has opened them up more to the general public. "Now people are kind of discovering us," Mathews explains. Loyal patrons have gifted the brewery with decorations and handcrafted games. "The community has been really good to us," Mathews grins.