In March 2020, Todd Delahunt opened a brewing company in his namesake, headquartered in San Clemente.
After battling to survive the COVID-19 pandemic, Delahunt Brewing Company emerged within the burgeoning South County brewing scene.
It expanded to Dana Point with the opening of a tasting room, planted a foothold in Southern California restaurants and bars by contracting with a distributor, and most recently teamed up with other local breweries to host “Homies on the Hill” parties this summer.
Now, the next step of the company’s growth has arrived, with the Aug. 24 announcement that Delahunt was sold to a new team of operators.
“We’re proud of what we built,” Todd Delahunt said in a press release about the transition. “We’ve found the right people to whom we’ve passed the torch.”
The new group includes CEO Miles McLennan and head brewer and Dana Point resident Chris Linn, among several others with experience in the brewing industry, finances and operations.
McLennan told San Clemente Times on Monday, Aug. 28, that he felt Delahunt built a “fantastic organization” in terms of both the staff and the brewing facility itself, in addition to a growing beer brand.
“They’re well entrenched in distribution, and they were just starting with the tasting room,” he said. “It feels like to me there’s a lot of potential here that’s just about to spring, and that’s one of the things we’re hoping to capitalize on.”
The transition took some time to occur, according to McLennan, as the two parties conversed and studiously weighed the other as potential options. He added that the process was “organic,” and that he had to spend even more time gathering a team that could effectively handle the operation they were taking over.
McLennan affirmed that the group wasn’t a large company that swallowed up other smaller ones, but rather South County residents who shared a dream of getting into the brewing business.
“We have a nice mix of practical brewery experience that we’re bringing to bear, like Chris and others, and then a lot of transferable skills … but we’re definitely not part of a big brewing thing,” he said. “We’re just private folks trying to make good beer and connect with our community.”
Delahunt Brewing’s core beers, the “Overcast” Double Hazy Indian Pale Ale, the “Sunbather” Blonde Ale, and the “Salvatore” Italian Pilsner will remain, head brewer Chris Linn said.
Linn will make minor changes to the beers’ brewing process, but Delahunt’s wholesale footprint will stay consistent.
Prior to joining Delahunt, Linn was part of companies such as Laguna Beach Beer Company and Modern Times Beer. He said he operates with an “extremely process-driven mindset,” and that everything that occurs after drafting a recipe and the first brewing day is important.
“That’s how I was taught, and that’s really where I think the beer is made the best,” said Linn. “(It’s) after brew day, that cellaring, transferring, dry-hopping.”
Regarding the company’s future potential, McLennan said the sky’s the limit for Delahunt, adding that they’ll focus on setting up everything in the immediate future and optimizing their supply operations.
“I would love to maximize what we’re doing in these two tasting rooms, (and) I’d be very open to opening other things if that opportunity presented itself in a period of time,” he said. “For right now, we’re just focused on making great beer, understanding the business and the community and just having a good harmony there.”