The Los Angeles Brewing Company before Bar Rescue
In 2012 Richard Ramos invested $250 grand into the newly-renovated The Los Angeles Brewing Company. The bar was situated in downtown Los Angeles and its brew system of a hundred taps attracted large groups of thirsty locals. During Ramos’ first investment the bar easily made $2 million annually.
Things went on smooth sailing until an ownership quarrel ended in a legal dispute. Ramos decided to pay $250 grand for a buyout after borrowing money from his relatives. Now as general manager Ramos hired his family members as management staff and reduced the bar’s famous inventory to half its number. The sudden lack of merchandise now repelled those who were previously loyal to The Los Angeles Brewing Company, and soon enough the bar saw losses instead of profits. Ramos was forced to take the earnings of his family’s glazing company to help keep things afloat, but it proved to be futile.
Ramos and his family now find themselves in a severe financial situation with $1 million worth of debt. There was no other choice left but to call for Jon Taffer and Bar Rescue for help.
The Los Angeles Brewing Company on Bar Rescue
The Theater District of Los Angeles was once the city’s busiest street since the 1920s. Five decades later an economic recession turned things around, and many businesses in Broadway closed their doors for good. In 2008 the city council initiated Bringing Back Broadway, a project that aimed to revitalize the historic corridor. Their efforts paid off as Broadway was now a hotspot for night life with many successful bars relishing in profit. The Los Angeles Brewing Company, however, was left in the dust.
From the outside Taffer and celebrity Maria Menounos observe the 7,000 square feet Brewing Company and notice nothing historic about the immense interior with barely any art or décor. They also watched the wide rift between Ramos and his relatives, with most of the latter wanting to sell the bar and be done with it as they lost all faith in the owner. For the recon Taffer and Menounos went in, and at the same time two other spies were also sent so the Bar Rescue host could check if the watering hole’s service was consistent.
Despite calling themselves a brewing company, the bar didn’t brew their own beer. They also only served 18 out of the 100 taps they advertised outside. Those that they did serve tasted flat which was due to the presence of mold and dirt in the tap system. The bar’s chicken wing dish was improperly cooked and was made using frozen products. In the kitchen the cooks squished burger patties and almost every food item was already spoiled. The second recon team had a first-hand experience of the bar’s poor food quality when the burger they bit had raw patties.
To fix the bar’s culinary problems, Taffer called in expert chef Kevin Bludso. The chef had the cooks clean up the fryers first before teaching them how to properly season chicken to ensure perfection. Behind the bar, expert Neil Witte taught the bartenders the importance of regularly moving kegs to keep the beers from developing customer-repelling flavors. He also emphasized the need of beers to have heads to ensure high quality.
During the stress test the bartenders were properly serving cold drinks and they barely had any customers waiting for drinks. Unfortunately, the beer taps began to pour slowly until the steady flows became mere trickles. Turns out the gas tank ran out of nitrogen and Ramos had no backup tank that could’ve kept the bar going throughout the stress test. Having no backup tank, let alone not keeping an eye on the gauge, was a no no when it comes to running a beer bar.
After the test Taffer made Ramos realize that a sacrifice was needed to save The Los Angeles Brewing Company. He stepped down as general manager and was replaced by skilled bartender Israel. Taffer’s new concept for the bar involved setting it up as an old-fashioned brewery. Witte taught the bartenders the importance of smelling and swirling beer so they could effectively describe taste to the customers. Bludso introduced dishes that went well with beer like steak sandwiches which were also fast and easy to make.
The renovation transformed The Los Angeles Brewing Company to LA Brew Co. A huge, bright signage made the bar more noticeable unlike before which would surely draw clientele through their doors. The interior now looked like a brewery with decorative kegs and tanks on corners. A Smart Brew computerized beer system allowed management to craft their own brews of cold ones, and a new NuCO2 system ensured that LA Brew Co. won’t run out of gas anymore.
The Los Angeles Brewing Company Now in 2018 – The After Bar Rescue Update
Things didn’t really turn out well for LA Brew Co. four months after Bar Rescue left.
The bar received an overwhelming number of one to two star reviews on their Yelp page. Just like before, most of the beers on their menu were unavailable. The food they served was not cooked properly with one Yelp reviewer posting a picture of a bloody chicken meat. The staff was described as cumbersome and unprofessional. LA Brew Co. was also notorious for not honoring the 15% discount coupon from Yelp which people described as nothing but a cheap way for the bar to lure patrons. Another review calls out Ramos’ practice of not paying employees for months despite being able to purchase a Bentley.
Most of the changes made by the show weren’t maintained and the bar never bothered to
brew beer. They also reportedly operated with a suspended liquor license. The Smart Brew system was not installed and the wings introduced by Bludso were only on the menu but wasn’t available to order.
Around March 2015 LA Brew Co. was listed for sale at $600,000. On September 2015 another beer bar named The Los Angeles Biergarten took over the LA Brew Co. spot.
Here is the bar’s Yelp page if you want to read the reviews.