Smog City Shows Off Los Angeles' Creative Craft Brewing Scene


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Video produced by Denise Toledo

The beer scene in Los Angeles is fairly young. Some of LA's veteran breweries only date back to 2011. However, in that short span of time, LA has churned out some of the coolest, most diverse brews created from some of the coolest, most diverse brewers. On this episode of "Beer Artisan," we see how LA’s young breweries have fostered a tightly-knit community with brewers who are not afraid to push the envelope.

Frances Lopez is the executive director of the Los Angeles County Brewers Guild. Formally founded in 2013, the LABG is a federally recognized nonprofit organization that works to promote and protect local independently-owned craft breweries. In order to properly advocate for the community, Lopez has built strong relationships with breweries across LA such as Smog City.

Smog City began brewing in October 2011 using Tustin Brewing’s brewpub to distribute their brews to restaurants and bars throughout Los Angeles County. This allowed head brewmaster Jonathan Porter and the team to establish a presence in the craft beer community.

“We started by renting a warehouse nearby and sort of brewing and selling and delivering on the weekends, and after work, and that paid off in dividends, because by the time we opened the doors here. we already had a reputation,” he said.

By 2013, Smog City had purchased its own full-scale brewing equipment, formalized plans for their new brewery and taproom in Torrance, and began brewing in their own brewery. Since then, Porter and Smog City have won three Great American Beer Festival medals for their Coffee Porter, Kumquat Saison, and Sabre-Toothed Squirrel brews. Co-owner and Manager, Laurie Porter points out that Smog City brews are not dictated by their consumer base, but an embodiment of their characters.

“You’re really saying 'Okay, here’s us — put it in a bottle!' If you like it, then you respond to our brand. If you don’t like it, there’s another brand out there that you’re really gonna love. We’re not land grabbing everybody,” she said.

By doing so, Smog City plays to the craft beer mentality of "the rising tide floats all ships."