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Tech on Tap event invites founders of Brewyard Beer Co. to share their entrepreneurial story

Glendale’s Tech on Tap series — a forum for entrepreneurs and marketers to connect with their community — will hold its sixth event on Wednesday, this time sharing the story of how two friends created the city’s first microbrewery.

This month’s meetup will feature the co-founder of Brewyard Beer Co., Kirk Nishikawa, who will talk about how he and his longtime friend Sherwin Antonio turned a drunken promise into a sophisticated microbrewery from scratch.

The Glendale Tech on Tap series launched in May as a lead-up to the larger Tech Week in September and continued on a monthly basis thereafter. Led by Jennifer McLain, Glendale’s principal economic development officer, the events serve as an informal way to bring small businesses and would-be entrepreneurs together to learn and network with one another.

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“One of the observations that we heard from our tech consultants is that all of the tech industry clusters have a forum for some form of knowledge sharing,” McLain said. “When we take a look at some other examples of what seems to be happening in our neighboring cities and even other examples from across the nation, it seems that the best way to get people together is either over a pint or breaking bread.”

After only a few months, McLain said she has learned about a number of small and large companies that are, in some cases, headquartered in Glendale. Many have reached out, thanks in part to the series and, in one instance, a start-up managed to receive funding after a successful connection.

Nishikawa said he hopes his journey of transforming a passion for beer into the Brewyard Beer Co. will resonate with others on Wednesday night.

It took roughly a year of location scouting before Nishikawa and Antonio signed a lease in 2014 for a building located near the Golden State (5) Freeway overpass at Western Avenue.

With no major financial backing, the duo invested every penny they could and, with a little luck and support, Brewyard opened last December.

“The city was very supportive, and our neighbors were willing to work with us,” Nishikawa said. “It helped that the building owner was OK with the idea [of] us chopping up floors and putting drains in.”

Without spoiling too much, Nishikawa said he plans to keep the Wednesday night discussion loose, focusing on all the highs and lows that happened before opening the brewery’s doors.

“My whole experience in brewing may not apply one-to-one, so my talk will be about the very beginning, the very conception and how you develop an idea because that works on any level,” Nishikawa said. “Having never opened a business before this, our experience would be very pertinent in terms of what is OK to be totally clueless about and figuring out how not be clueless about it.”

The Brewyard Beer Co. talk will take place from 5 to 7 p.m. on Wednesday at the Moose Den, located at 156 S. Brand Blvd. in Glendale. Attendees can RSVP at meetup.com/Glendale-Tech-on-Tap/events.

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Jeff Landa, jeff.landa@latimes.com

Twitter: @JeffLanda


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