Meet Thr3e Punk Ales

Future Santee brewery set to brew inside existing Santee brewery

John Marshall, Kevin Lewis, and Steve Garcia have lived and breathed brewing and punk rock for years. They look back to the emergence and rise of numerous local punk acts during the late nineties and early two-thousands, as well as the various bands they were part of, with great fondness. In opening their own brewing company, they hope to fuse their love of music and craft beer, and it would seem they’re off to a good start. Nothing’s as punk rock as opening your brewery in an existing brewery.

The trio’s Thr3e Punk Ales is on pace to debut this summer with beers produced at Butcher’s Brewing Company (9962 Prospect Avenue, Suite E, Santee). It’s a deal they worked out with Butcher’s owner and brewmaster Rey Knight, which consists of a one-year lease, during which Thr3e Punk Ales will utilize a three-barrel system at Knight’s facility to produce beers with “no boundaries.” (Ownership isn’t disclosing which beers they’ll brew beyond a “variant of the IPA.” Again, quite punk rock.)

Leasing space from an existing brewery is a barely explored model in San Diego County. The closest recent instance of such an agreement was when URBN St. Brewing Company brewed some early batches of beer at Twisted Manzanita Ales (which is, coincidentally, located less than a block down Prospect from Butchers’) in order to get some kegs into circulation prior to the much-delayed opening of its El Cajon brewpub. Doing so for 365 days or more is a much different story, and an interesting one at that.

Garcia says this “alternating proprietorship” will allow him and his colleagues to focus the capital they would have invested in initial equipment and facilities on marketing and development. It’s a business decision partially based on lessons learned via San Diego State University’s Business of Craft Beer Certificate Program, which all three founders attended and only Marshall has yet to graduate from (later this year). According to them, the program was a good way to network with people already established in the local craft beer scene, including brewpub owner and beer bar mogul, Scot Blair, who they tout as the “guiding light” for their project.

Marshall will serve as the company’s brewmaster with Lewis (who currently works as a brewer at Butcher's) as the head brewer, but Garcia will also be involved with brewing. In addition to a mutual love of music, the trio has extensive collaborative homebrewing experience. Nearly all of Thr3e Punk Ales’ beers will be funneled into kegs, but at least one variety will find its way into 22-ounce bottles. Seems like tall-boys would have been more punk rock, but I guess you can only take a theme so far.

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