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Former Angel City owner says he loves brewing beer, not 'growing a business'

By Hayley Fox
Published: Friday, June 15, 2012, at 10:27AM
Angel City Brewery

Angel City Brewery has come under new ownership and plans to introduce all new beers.

Angel City Brewery recently launched their first beer under new ownership, debuting Test Beer B at assorted bars throughout Downtown. But the brewery has been in development for years, and previous owner Michael Bowe founded the beer company himself and built it up from a home-brew operation in Torrance, to a 27,000-square-foot professional brewing company in DTLA.

Then, after only about a year, he decided to sell.

“Anyone who has ever started a business knows that the road to growth is neither smooth nor straight," said Bowe in a statement. "I followed my dream in starting Angel City, and I furthered that dream in moving the brewery to the L.A. Arts District. But, I realized that what I love is brewing beer, not the challenges of growing a business."

Bowe was named California Homebrewer of the Year in 1995 and 1996, bought an 8,000 barrel German-made brewery on eBay in 2004 and moved to Downtown in late 2010.

Bowe is also a saxophone player and jazz lover, so Angel City beers soon became known for their playful names inspired by jazz legends -- such as the Lester Young Porkpie Hat Dark Lager and the Charlie Parker Pale Ale.

Bowe did not wish to speak to Blogdowntown, but did provide comments in a press release issued by Alchemy and Science, the company which has taken over Angel City as of January of this year.

"Aligning with Alchemy & Science will bring my original vision for Angel City to fruition and will ensure the Brewery’s legacy in uncertain times," said Bowe. "This is a win-win for everybody, especially for craft beer lovers in Los Angeles."

New brewery owner Newman said he came out to Los Angeles looking to start a brewery in the city, and was merely catching up with Bowe over dinner when the subject of Angel City was brought up.

“I’ve known Michael Bowe for many years, and I’ve followed his career as a brewer with great admiration -- though it never occurred to me that I would become involved with Angel City," said Newman in a statement.

He added, "I did not come to buy Angel City."

But during their conversation, Bowe asked Newman about taking over his beer business.

"It was kind of that simple," said Newman in an email. "Then we worked out the deal, did our due diligence and took over early January."

Newman's Vermont-based company Alchemy and Science is a collaboration with Stacey Steinmetz and funded by The Boston Beer Company. Their first test product at Angel City was a Belgian-style white ale -- Newman said in addition to the standard brews, they soon plan on experimenting with IPAs and sour beers.

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