Marin Brewing Company closes after more than 30 years – SF Gate

Marin Brewing Company closes after more than 30 years  SF Gate

A Marin County institution is closing its taps after nearly 33 years in business.

Marin Brewing Company is shutting down its Larkspur Landing restaurant and brewery Jan. 31, citing the financial struggle of surviving during a 2-year-long pandemic as the main reason for the closure.

“It’s a whole bunch of things coming together at the same time, but probably the biggest thing I would say is COVID,” said Brendan Moylan, managing owner of Marin Brewing.

Moylan said that while he is paying rent now, he wasn’t able to make payments at the height of the pandemic. When he didn’t get any help from the almost $30 billion Restaurant Revitalization Fund, he was sent over the edge.

“We had the application filled out within an hour of the portal going live,” he said. “We got the general response they gave to so many and that is that they ran out.”

Moylan’s Brewery and Restaurant in Novato will stay open. “I’m the new chief bartender,” he said with a laugh. “We’re open five days a week right now, but we’ll be switching to seven days soon.”

Moylan opened Marin Brewing with Craig Tasley on April Fools’ Day in 1989. “Right out of the gate, in October 1989, Marin Brewing Company won the first four of what would become many medals at the Great American Beer Festival in Denver,” a history on Marin Brewing’s website said.

The brewery is known for its craft brews with names inspired by the nearby wild landscape, where redwoods tower on coastal hillsides and waves crash against cliffs. There’s a Mt. Tam Pale Ale, a Stinson Beach Peach and a Tripel Dipsea Belgian Style Ale, which is named after the Dipsea Trail that’s popular with long-distance runners. The restaurant and pub, with mountain bikes hanging from the rafters, has long been the spot where old college friends met over beers and hikers and runners filled up after a long trek. Moylan said they hosted 100 free music shows a year.

The response from the community about the closure has been tremendous, and Moylan said emotions have ranged from “outrage to sadness” mixed with a lot of “compassion” and “positive vibes.” 

The outdoor patio at Marin Brewing Co. in Larkspur.

Image courtesy of Marin Brewing Co.

“We’re going to miss you very much,” a user wrote on Instagram, where Moylan announced the closure. “Thanks for creating such a fantastic place with great food and great beer! It was always the place to go to meet with friends and family growing up! It’s a family landmark for us, so thank you again!”

Before the pandemic, Moylan said the brewery operated with 100 employees. He’s now operating with 50 employees and said he’s devastated about letting them go. 

“They’ve all done a great job and put in extra time and worked through all the COVID madness,” he said. 

A few employees from Marin Brewing Company will move to Moylan’s Novato location. How many? “Not enough,” he said.

Moylan plans to host a silent auction to sell off the memorabilia displayed in the Larkspur; proceeds will go to employees.

“It has been a great ride,” he said. “We’ve had a lot of good times over the year. We were a local community-based business. We used to be able to do 500 donations a year to 300 different groups. As time evolves, sometimes people get shortsighted when they shop. That’s why it’s important to shop local. The out-of-town businesses, the big corporations, aren’t the same as local businesses as far as helping out in the community.”