Sometimes the stars align and the universe hands you what feels almost like a gift.
The universe, though, clearly appreciates a good setup.
Brothers Curtis and Cody Bell started Bell Brothers Brewing in 2017, with the “hopes and dreams” of opening by 2019 — if everything went according to plan.
Things did not, to say the least.
They originally set their sights on a spot in Fountain, and when that fell through they cast a wider net.
“We were kind of looking all over the place, and to be honest, my brother and I were just about ready to throw in the towel,” said Curtis Bell. “We thought maybe we need to spend about two more years building up some assets, doing something else and then we’ll come back.”
But the beer fates made their move, and gave their gift: The former Zeezo’s building on North Tejon was being redeveloped into a multiuse space, and the landlords were seeking tenants.
“Within weeks, we had a lease ready to go,” Bell said. “After years and years worth of work”— not to mention a pandemic — “everything just clicked and things started moving.”
The brothers signed the lease a year ago and got to work on their two-story unit, with a goal to open before the end of 2021. First the target was late summer, then early fall, then winter.
Talk about squeaking in under the wire.
“If you talk to my wife, she’ll tell you she was expecting it in 2022. She’s more of a pessimist and I’m more of an optimist. A cautious optimist,” Bell said. “If you don’t have hope it’s going to work out the way I want it to, you lose track of what’s going on. So instead I keep my head down and keep grinding. I’d always been pushing for the 2021 opening, but there were a lot of things that went wrong that pushed us out further and further.”
You mean, like, ongoing pandemic reality — or, at least, the realities of pandemic times?
“It’s not just COVID. Dealing with a global shortage and logistic issues, those were hitting even our small business,” Bell said.
Example: A 200-amp commercial electrical panel that, in days of yore, you could have picked up at Lowe’s on the way home, was unavailable until 2022.
“They didn’t have one anywhere in the state,” Bell said. “Many times, it was like — oops, not going to get here until February. And that wasn’t going to work.”
Bell said good relationships in the business and contracting community came through for him. Conversations were had, strings gently pulled, and voila.
“I try to be nice to everybody I work with and it’s paid off a few times,” Bell said. “Treat the people around you with respect, and when you need help more people will be willing to help out.”
Bell Brothers Brewing will be open until 1 a.m. for its grand opening New Year’s Eve debut. Normally, though, closing time on the weekends is 11 a.m.
“Right now, I’m still riding the curve out,” Bell said last week. “But New Year’s Eve is going to be a big celebration on many levels for us. And then I’m going to take a big breath.”