An Expert Knows All the Answers—If You Ask the Right Questions

by flaunt

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An Expert Knows All the Answers—If You Ask the Right Questions

We speak to Charles Lew of Boomtown Brewery about community, the entreprenurial spirit, and of course, hops.

Charles Lew, managing member of Boomtown Brewery, knows what Angelenos can't get enough of: craft beer.

But he and his friends aren’t just crafting old world beers. They’re out to showcase L.A.’s fecund creative environ, through galleries, events, and by setting up shop in a creative haven, downtown L.A.’s bustling Arts District.

Besides a palatable selection of beers spanning a multitude of appearances and flavors, Lew’s embracing the complement to all things hoppy: benefits, block parties, bicycle rides, and everything kinetically social,  “all in the name of contributing to the creative community.

Describe the uniqueness of Boomtown's new location?

Boomtown is located in The Arts District in downtown Los Angeles. It is a housed in three distinct buildings dating back to 1918 that will eventually make up the main brewery, the tasting room, and the special events area.

Any challenges in establishing a brewery in DTLA?

There are always challenges anytime you do anything relating to the production of alcohol. What is excellent is that there is a surprising amount of support within the city and the county for the craft beer movement. What used to be seemingly insurmountable obstacles are now manageable and actually make sense as public welfare legislation rather than just serving as an unnecessary burden to brewers and the craft beer movement.

You have a background in law and entrepreneurship. How is this particular venture special to you versus other projects?

It truly allowed all of us to utilize our individual expertise and create something where the whole was far greater than the parts. Our partner John Rankin is a expert in restaurant and hospitality management and so he has been managing the operations. Alex Kagianaris and I found the building, negotiated the lease, set up the business, and secured the entitlements, permits, and distribution; and our brewer Samuel Chawinga did what he does best, which is create world class beers.

How do you foresee the growth of Boomtown?

I think Boomtown is poised to become one of the premier craft breweries in California. We are in the greatest city as far as opportunity for growth, we have the best brewer around and we are putting out an incredible product, it's a super exciting time for us.

"Boomtown" comes from the idea of places taking off overnight due to an abundant and valuable resource. What's the nature of that idea here?

I think our most valuable resource is our team. I mentioned it briefly before but as an entrepreneur I can't put enough emphasis on the importance of the people around you. Our greatest resource is our team and the network that we have all built in Los Angeles. Between all of us we have almost a century in California with 3/4 of that spent in the hospitality industry.

Favorite beer and why?

My favorite beer has to be our Scotch Ale "Magic Napper." Growing up in Scotland, I probably snuck a taste of my first ale at five or six so this particular beer is pretty close to my heart, plus at 8.2% ABV it packs a punch.

What would you describe as a constant when it comes to forming new ventures in LA?

The only constant to new ventures in L.A. is change. As an active lawyer and entrepreneur in Los Angeles I am privy to many new and exciting projects before they really become well known. The diversity and unique nature of these projects is what always keeps me shaking my head in amazement. At least once a week I'm looking at an invention, a product, or a restaurant or bar idea that has me literally shaking my head in disbelief.

Who is your favorite active entrepreneur and why?

This is tough one for me as there are two people who seem to be able to function without sleep and obviously have more than 24 hours in their respective days: Sir Richard Branson and Elon Musk. I remember going to the Virgin Store in Glasgow Scotland as a child and being captivated by how cool and unique the store was. Sir Richard Branson has continued to redefine cool for entrepreneurs now for almost four decades and doesn't seem to be slowing down at all.

Elon Musk is the other individual who just seems to be on a whole other level. His list of accomplishments are unparalleled and he has done it all at such a young age. I can't even imagine what we will see from him in the future.