Stein grew up in Atlanta, and I’ve known him since he was a young University of Georgia grad, working at Brick Store Pub in Decatur, and trying to figure out what he wanted to do next.
My most distinct memory of Stein from that time is that he often pestered people into trying his homebrew. Little did any of us know then that he would go on to create Tropicalia IPA at nearby Twain’s Brewpub, and launch Creature Comforts in 2014.
Echoing Herron’s post, Stein said Creature Comforts spent over a year working with a developer and a designer on a location for a brewery on the Atlanta Beltline. But when a part of a bill that would have made it easier to transfer beer between brewery locations was quashed in the Georgia Legislature, they quickly changed course.
“We were pretty far along, and it was going to be amazing,” Stein said. “Then we hit a point in the process where the reality of the restrictive beer laws in Georgia just posed too many barriers and complications, so we put it on an indefinite hold. But if the laws become more reasonable, and in line with other states in the U.S., it’s something we will reconsider for Atlanta.”
The L.A. brewery had a lot to do with Creature Comforts' friendship with Joe Russo, who directed several “Avengers” and “Captain America” movies, and Pinewood Atlanta Studios. Russo loved the brewery, and Tropicalia in particular, and helped broker the deal for an L.A. location that was already zoned for a brewery.
Stein said the L.A. brewery and taproom is projected to open sometime next year. But beyond possible complications from the pandemic, permitting is always an issue.
“I’m hoping to move out there by the beginning of next summer, and hoping we are able to open toward the end of next summer or early fall,” he said. “For the past couple years, I’ve been the VP of Brand Development and Creative, but now I’m shifting my official role to being the founder of Creature Comforts, and I will support the company as the company needs me.”
Personally, Stein said he’s thrilled to be making the move to California, after spending his entire life between Atlanta and Athens.
“I fell in love with the beer culture out there,” he said. "It’s so much more established and it’s almost like you’re looking at a bunch of grownups, compared to how we felt when we started. Sierra Nevada, Russian River, Stone were kind of the forefathers of craft beer from California.
“The scene is so vibrant and the laws are so awesome, it allows us to operate a lot more easily and creatively. On a career path, but also on a personal level, I’m just looking forward to this new challenge.”
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