When Sage Vegan Bistro approached us about helping them expand into a brewery at their original Echo Park location, we knew it was a project we needed to be involved in. The innovative expansion planned to address a problem that many Los Angelenos didn’t even know existed — that most beers aren’t actually fit for a vegan diet, as many breweries use animal-derived additives and ingredients. More importantly, no vegan drinking establishments even existed in the L.A. area!
Situated in the heart of Echo Park, the original Sage Vegan Bistro location in the historic Jensen Recreation Center posed some inherent problems. Before starting the project, FE sorted through all of the logistics of installing a brewery in the 1924 building. We did our own investigative work, digging up information on the property by combing through dated city records and discovering old drawings from the city including details like where the shafts were built in the building.
Knowing all of the intricacies and structural regulations for the historic space, we helped decide the best team to bring on for the job. From there, FE coordinated all efforts on the project, arranging communication about venting and plumbing requirements amongst the engineers and the brewery’s management and essentially working as a middleman between the two. We ensured that the space followed Sage’s vision for its brewery while also upholding the historical integrity of the building and staying up to health, building, and alcohol codes and standards.
Now, Sage Vegan Bistro and Brewery marks the first proactively vegan drinking establishment in Los Angeles and the world’s first organic beer garden. Its space includes a full tasting room and bar in addition to the brewery, with six fermentation tanks in place as well as taps for their own vegan beers, pre-batched cocktails, wine, and kombucha. Our journey to opening this incredible space took almost two years, but seeing the finished product and its impact on the L.A. community was well worth the wait — now we have a new favorite vegan brewery to visit after work!
Photo courtesy of Farley Elliott.