Like the Bootleggers of yesteryear, Bootlegger’s Brewery grew out of the local community and has remained focused on purveying the highest quality beer to our locals. We believe fresh local beer builds a stronger community. While we started in Fullerton California, these days we’ve expanded our community ties far beyond Fullerton and have firmly followed our motto of “Drink Fresh, Drink Local”.
In 2006, Aaron, the founder, realized he had an opportunity to transform his long time hobby of homebrewing into a viable business while taking an Entrepreneurship class at California State University of Fullerton. He set about honing his business plan and pitched it to a class panel. Before he knew it, he had leased a small 1800 square foot building, purchased a 7-barrel brewhouse, and was well on his way in building Fullerton’s first production brewery. In April 2008, after over a year of construction, Bootlegger’s Brewery opened and sold it’s first keg to a well known neighborhood bar in Downtown Fullerton.
Since opening in 2008, Bootlegger’s Brewery has continued to evolve and grow. Eventually outgrowing the original facility off Richman Ave. Bootlegger’s then moved into a much larger production facility in 2012 and opened a new tasting room in Downtown Fullerton in 2013. In 2017 they expanded to a new pilot brewery and tasting room in Redlands, California with another pilot brewery and tasting room slated to open late 2017 in Costa Mesa, California.
Over the years, we’ve grown from a one-person operation to over 35 employees. We’ve also expanded our equipment by installing a new 30-barrel brewhouse in the summer of 2015.
Aaron Barkenhagen’s brewing roots can be traced back to 1998 when he brewed his first batch of homebrew in his brother’s garage at the tender age of 19. That first batch, an English brown ale clone, opened his eyes to the diversity of beer, and the satisfaction of having created something different from the mass-market beer.
Before opening Bootlegger’s, Aaron was a programmer and an Insurance Product Manager. However his passion was always drawn back to Homebrewing. After making the decision to go back to school and attend the Entrepreneurship program at California State University of Fullerton, his business management experience, and passion for brewing collided in a business plan for a local craft brewery in Fullerton.