Deja View : An Updated Look at Some of the Stories Featured Here During the Year : Brewery Shutdown: : Laid-off Workers Take Chance on New Careers

After the Stroh Brewery Co. plant in Van Nuys closed in February, Ray Seufferlein headed straight into unemployment. At 43, he hadn’t expected to start his life all over again.

Four months later, as the financial burden increased, Seufferlein spotted an advertisement for the sale of a pool service in the San Fernando Valley. He bought it for $30,000. The new life began.

“I miss the camaraderie,” the Saugus man said. “But it’s paying the bills. And I’m working outside.”

Seufferlein, a machinist at Stroh’s, was one of the laid-off workers profiled in an article in February. That’s when the plant on Woodman Avenue, several blocks north of Sherman Way, laid off about 390 hourly and salaried workers. The company blamed the closing on its declining market share.


Seufferlein cleans and repairs pools in Northridge, Sepulveda and Granada Hills. It’s a 24-hour-a-day job.

“When I used to leave Stroh’s, I never took my work home,” he said. “But now I have to think about it all the time.”

Not so for Don Daniels, who also lost his job when Stroh’s closed.

Daniels, 55, immediately switched over to Miller Brewery Co. in Irwindale. He’s doing the same job--bottling.

“It pays a little more,” said Daniels of Castaic Lake. “But I have to drive 115 miles every day, and I work from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m.”

And Daniels is often laid off for a week or two. “That’s the beer business,” he said. “I can’t make any plans ‘cause I never know when I’m going to be working or not.”