WATSONVILLE — The owners of Beer Mule were hoping for an easy “soft opening” when they announced their first night via Instagram on Saturday.
Instead, they got more than 200 people who braved the rainy evening and packed the place to sample the beers and check out Watsonville’s newest business and only taproom.
“It started out very quiet, and it very quickly got not quiet,” co-owner Kym DeWitt said. “We couldn’t have felt more welcome to our community.”
DeWitt owns the business with her husband Shawd, along with Olive Moredock and Craig Renfroe, who also own Beer Thirty Bottle Shop and Pour House in Soquel.
Business in the Watsonville location was steady Wednesday afternoon, with several people sampling the 30 beers on tap and tucking into the lunch offering of the day, an artisan panini with smoked ham, French brie and Serrano fig jam and an arugula salad.
Also on tap were several non-beer choices that include cider and root beer, along with 200 styles of bottled beer in a cold case.
The business does not yet have the full kitchen the owners were hoping for when they decided to expand to Watsonville. That will hopefully come later in the summer, along with a chef to run the kitchen.
Until then, the taproom will offer a daily food special, such as the aforementioned sandwich. To do so, they plan to tap into local providers such as Freedom Meat Lockers, Coast Produce and Golden Sheaf Bakery.
In addition, Beer Mule will soon be joined next door by Zameen Mediterranean Cuisine, along with Mr. Z’s Crepes and Teas.
Aloha Hola, a Hawaiian-themed pop-up restaurant is also planned, and the owners are hoping a coffee shop will also move in.
Even with all these plans for edible offerings, however, DeWitt said that customers can bring their own food to enjoy with their beer. Kids and pets are also encouraged to come.
“One of the messages we want the community to know is, we are your space,” she said. “You are welcome here.”
Madison Covas and her husband, Nicholas, enjoy a sampling of beer Thursday at the newly-opened Beer Mule on Aviation Way. (Photo by Tarmo Hannula/Pajaronian)
Beer Mule is located in a WWII-era building constructed when Watsonville Municipal Airport was a military base. DeWitt said plans for the business included preserving the original redwood infrastructure.
The somewhat minimalist taproom is lit with sunlight that streams in through giant windows and doors. Customers can also choose to sit in the outdoor area.
Watsonville resident Carl Hensler said he has been a customer of Beer Thirty since it opened in 2014. The new taproom, he said, is closer to his home and to the airport, where he has a plane in a hangar.
“It’s a wonderful location,” he said. “I think it’s a wonderful addition to the Watsonville beer scene.”
Watsonville City Councilman Felipe Hernandez, who attended Saturday night’s opening, brought Councilman Lowell Hurst for his first visit Wednesday.
“It’s a great opportunity to have a place that serves such a diverse customer base,” he said. “Now people don’t have to drive out of town for this experience.”
Beer Mule is located at 45 Aviation Way in Watsonville. It is open Sunday through Thursday from 10 a.m. until 10 p.m., and Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. until midnight. For information, call 254-9789 or visit its Facebook page.