Stockton’s newest nano brewery, Channel Brewing Co., is more than a line-up of brews. The business partners (and friends) Billy Chaddock, Brandon Piasecki, Erich Rau, and Ryan Sharpe, hock beer with a bigger picture—a drink for men on the go; and they aren’t just on their way anywhere, they are hitting the beach, going backpacking, and ultimately getting outdoors.
“It’s what we enjoy doing,” Channel Brewing President Billy explains of the owners. “You live in Stockton, you’re only an hour and a half away from the beach and hour and a half away from the mountains. It’s a point in between a lot of places.”
Inspiration, at least in this case, is a two-way street. Not only may the beer inspire customers to get out there and enjoy the outdoors, the customers inspired the mission behind the beer.
“I’ve noticed that just looking at our market, a lot of the people who enjoy craft beer, they’re outdoors people. To me, it’s fitting,” Billy says.
An outdoorsmen himself, Billy started hunting and fishing in Montana where he was stationed while serving in the Air Force. He’s continued those passions in Stockton, and added backpacking to the list. As a group, Billy, Brandon, Erich, and Ryan have been knocking off 30-40 mile stretches of the Pacific Coast Trail together.
They’re inviting customers to join them on their adventures. In summer 2016, the group completed their first Channel Brewing Retreat, and is planning more open to the public. They are also launching a kickball league under the Channel Brewing name, and on days off, customers can catch the crew playing disc golf.
Taproom staff is knowledgeable on local outings and trails and are encouraged to share that knowledge with interested customers.
“It’s hard for me to brand something that I’m not passionate about,” Billy said. “I don’t just have this corporate mindset about what is going to make the most dollars in the shortest amount of time… for me, if I cant get behind it, I can’t do it.”
On a personal level, Billy wants to encourage those in Stockton to reach for their dreams. In a time of hope and revitalization in the community, he said it’s important to go for it. “I’ve just met a lot of people who want to do something but feel like they don’t have the resources to do it,” he explains. “I don’t have a big background in marketing or business or accounting or beer for that matter… it was just a matter of wanting to do it.” Oh, and he drinks a lot of beer, so that helps.
Because Billy knew he lacked some of the skills necessary to launch this sort of business, he turned to friends to fill in the blanks. His brother in law came on board, and then two of his childhood friends who he hadn’t talked to in about a decade. He just saw their skill sets through social media and reached out.
Ryan is the brewer, Eric handles multimedia, and Brandon is the “hype man”/event coordinator. Together, they make a good team. They set up a KickStarter and raised $42,651 in 45 days. It took some time and some more capital, but they made it.
“We have really just embedded ourselves in the community,” Billy says of getting started. They work with the Children’s Museum of San Joaquin County, local art collectives, Little Free Libraries, and other community organizations, fueling another shared passion.
“In Stockton, people are looking for brands to latch onto that have hope for the city, that highlight the good, and that give back to Stockton,” Billy says.
Channel Brewing Co.
110 N. San Joaquin St., Stockton
In addition to what’s on tap, Channel Brewing Co. is branding (and canning) three brews.
The Smoky (flagship brew) – a scotch ale.
The Drop – a summer pale ale.
Shove it – Channel’s version of a Belgian double, without the fancy connotations