There is a saying in the wine biz that it takes a lot of beer to make great wine. So, it seems only natural that a brewery would set up shop in Santa Barbara wine country.
Jaime Dietenhofer grew up in Los Olivos and wanted to start a brewery when he was in high school. Perhaps it was in his blood, as he is of German heritage. But, his dad Jim laughed and told him to go to college. He went to Whitman in Walla Walla, Washington and researched beer while he was there. It was the mid-90s and breweries were growing in the Northwest. Jamie also studied abroad in Vienna, Austria for a year with his now wife Meighan. Between Austria and Germany, they visited a lot of biergartens. Jaime then attended graduate school at UCSB for economics and green development but his dream to own a brewery didn’t die. Regardless, his father told him to get a job.
Jamie started pimping garages and started a business called Garage Envy. He did this for 12 years and had a show on the DIY Channel for 3 1/2 years. During this time, Jaime spent 15 years building his idea, interviewing over 140 brewers and writing a business plan.
Then in 2008, he presented his idea again to his dad and this time his dad agreed to start a business with him. The economy was failing and they were able to purchase things cheaply. Then, in 2010, Figueroa Mountain Brewing Company opened their doors. The first year they made 600 barrels, 1200 in the second year, 3600 in the third year, 8000 in the fourth year and 15,000-20,000 by the end of this year (their fifth year).
The main brewery and bar is in Buellton but they also have locations in downtown Santa Barbara (in the Funk Zone), Westlake Village and Arroyo Grande.