We are back In the Moment this week with Rawley Macias, founder and head brewer of Rouleur Brewing Company. I remember when Rouleur first opened, and how excited I was—as someone who loves bicycles—at the prospect of a cycling-themed brewery. I reached out right away, and it wasn’t long before Rawley himself was delivering kegs of fresh beer to the restaurant I was running.
Rouleur Brewing’s growth has been exponential since then, but only because of the work being put in day after day by Rawley, and the team surrounding him. You can taste the quest for perfection in the beer coming out of Rouleur, and—with their expanded canned beer offerings and a new location opening up—it will soon be easier than ever to find Rouleur beer wherever you find yourself in San Diego County.
CHEERS!: Hey Rawley, thanks for catching me up on what’s going on at Rouleur Brewing company. More than a year into this wild pandemic, what is the physical and emotional status of your company, and team?
Rawley: Truthfully, we are very relieved and excited with how we handled and existed the pandemic. Obviously, the pandemic was incredibly trying for nearly all hospitality businesses. Thankfully for us, we were able to pivot early in the pandemic by blending hand sanitizer for various businesses and municipalities. This pivot allowed us to keep our staff busy and fully employed. Over the last twelve months, we have expanded our home base operations in Carlsbad and are in the process of opening a second location in North Park.
CHEERS!: Rouleur has continued to grow with an expanded tasting room/brewery space, and the relatively recent announcement that you’d be taking over the space next to The Observatory in the heart of North Park. What motivated that effort in the middle of a pandemic which really slowed down a lot of businesses? And how did you manage it all?
Rawley: As mentioned above, Rouleur was able to pivot during the pandemic on several fronts. We blended hand sanitizer to meet local demand and keep revenue coming in. We also increased our focus on packaged beer by procuring our own canning line (nearly all bars and restaurants were closed during the pandemic and one of the only forms of beer sales were packaged/canned beer).
The canning line helped us produce packaged beer at a higher rate and cheaper cost. The alternative to owning your own canning line is to hire a third-party company that comes onsite and packages your beer for you. Although helpful for young/small breweries, hiring a third-party packager is expensive. In addition, the pandemic also forced many businesses too close. This fact allowed us to find and secure a prime location in North Park.
CHEERS!: Will there be unique beer offerings at both locations? How will you choose?!
Rawley: Our new location in North Park will have a few unique offerings over our current Carlsbad spot, with the main one being FOOD! Fortunately for us, the location we secured in North Park previously had a small kitchen in it. We are taking advantage of that fact and will be offering small bites at that location.
In addition, by offering food, we will be allowed to serve guest beers and wine too. We are hoping that our North Park location will be a great pre and post-hang-out spot for the various shows occurring at the neighboring Observatory music venue (next door).
CHEERS!: You’re still a cycling-inspired brand, but you just launch a full line-up of rebranded cans. What inspired the new designs, and will we be seeing more retail products in the local market?
Rawley: Yep, with the commissioning of our canning line in late 2020, we took the opportunity to revisit our packaged beer strategy. We increased our year-round canned beer line up from four varieties to nine. In addition, we revisited the label designs of each. We received feedback that our previous label designs were cool but were a bit too dark in color and got lost on store shelves. We since redesigned all labels to make them more vibrant and memorable.
CHEERS!: There was a recent memorial event with a bike ride, and the unveiling of a memorial bench in honor of Kevin Lentz, a Vista local who was killed in a hit & run incident while cycling in Escondido. What did it mean to you, and to the community, to participate in that event and to see everyone there?
Rawley: This is a hard subject to discuss openly. Kevin was a personal friend of mine and the brewery. He frequented our Carlsbad location often and participated in many of our events. When he was killed in November 2019, it really crushed us as well as the local cycling community.
The Memorial Bench was a group effort to build something to remember him by. Several members of the community were involved with the funding, construction, and dedication ceremony. Kevin is and will continue to be greatly missed.
CHEERS!: With all the new venues and retail options, what is the best way for North County residents to get their hands on Rouleur’s beer, and any particular beers coming out that you’re excited about?
Rawley: We always have fun and new products releasing. The best way to keep tabs on our offerings is to follow us on our social media channels (links below).
CHEERS!: Anything else you want readers to know about Rouleur right now?
Rawley: Onward and Upward!
Rouleur Brewing will soon be celebrating its 4th Anniversary, and they always put on a great event at the Carlsbad tasting room with beer, food, music, bikes, and giveaways. The new North Park location is on the way, and recent social media photos show the draft towers being delivered. I hope it won’t be long now! Follow @RouleurBrewing on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for all those beer, event and location updates.
If you like craft beer, you probably also love a good cup of coffee. Pour a mug, and check out most recent episodes of the Roast! West Coast coffee podcast featuring interviews and coffee education with great local coffee professionals.
Stream it now on The Coast News online or search for it on your favorite podcast platforms including Apple Podcasts and Spotify. Thanks for listening, and for following Cheers! North County on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.