Michael and Dave LaCross set out to either start or purchase a brewery somewhere in the San Francisco Bay Area, with a love of craft beer and an overwhelming desire to enter the craft brewing movement. They ended up buying the existing and award-winning Schooner’s Grille and Brewery in Antioch, CA in May 2014. They immediately assisted their Brewmaster, Craig Cauwels, in joining craft beer competitions, and began with a bang by winning California Brewery of the Year at the California State Fair in 2014, rising up against all the heavy hitters in California. Craig has created some of the country’s very best craft beers over the past ten years. He has racked up a slew of prizes at international beer competitions including ten Great American Beer Festival (GABF) medals and four at World Beer Cup, the world’s biggest beer races. Our most recent victory at the 2016 World Beer Cup was a Gold Medal for our Apogee Baltic Porter. Check the Awards page for a complete list. It was quite surprising with such a background that a professional brewery had never attempted to sell beyond a few small watering holes. The new owners joked that outside of Antioch, Schooner’s had the best beer that no one had ever tasted.
They wanted to fix this situation by concentrating all their efforts on brewing great beer, greatly raising production efficiency, and beginning to sell as far and wide as possible. They purchased a large warehouse at 1885 N for that purpose. MacArthur Drive in Tracy, CA, adapted it for brewing, added a beautiful tasting room and rebranded it as Morgan Territory Brewing — to get a fresh start and prevent future label problems outside of California. The space comes with the advantage of developing to 25,000 barrels which meant they had to reinforce the base to support the weight of 120 barrel fermenters, install a very large boiler and Cool Fit glycol system along with a reverse osmosis water treatment system and a gargantuan cool area, big enough to drive a forklift in. The cool space is the perfect place to spend a hot day working.
Morgan Territory Brewing takes on the Wild West. Named after a historic ranch on Mount Diablo’s “morning side,” Morgan Territory Brewing is dedicated to the prosperous, independent character of early settlers who made California great. They are dedicated to making innovative and creative, high-quality craft beers, and their award-winning tradition continues. There is an excellent range of well made beers, served by polite, knowledgeable, helpful staff in a comfortable and welcoming environment. The IPAs and other styles are different. For beer lovers driving between the Bay Area and the Sierra this is a must-stop. They fill growlers from other breweries; cover the text that marks them.