After owner's Facebook rants tanked brewery, buyer seeks clean slate

Nearly four months after the owner of Twelve Rounds Brewing saw his customer base collapse following a series of rants on Facebook, a new owner emerged Wednesday and said he plans to act quickly to change the name, win back customers and revamp the East Sacramento brewery’s badly tainted image.

In January, on the heels of the women’s protest march in Sacramento and in many cities throughout the nation, Dan Murphy, the owner of Twelve Rounds and an award-winning brewer, posted the following on his personal Facebook page: “I am disgusted at all of the people and politicians that supported this anti-Trump event.”

That post alone startled many in East Sacramento, a Democratic stronghold. It turned out Murphy had made a habit of Facebook tirades and soon scores of people were combing through his earlier comments. He called Barack Obama a “Muslim traitor;” argued that all Muslims should be deported; used a racial slur to refer to Pakistanis; and made derogatory comments about gay marriage.

In the days after his comments burst into the public domain, Murphy expressed remorse for his actions and apologized on the brewery’s Facebook page. But at other times, he was defiant, saying in an interview that “apparently as a business owner, I don’t get free speech any more.”

On Wednesday, Manny Cardoza, a local real estate agent, and his wife Heather, completed the purchase of Twelve Rounds and took possession of the building.

He was quick to describe himself as “apolitical” and, referring to the Murphy’s highly charged comments that inspired a consumer boycott and protests, said, “There’s none of that thought in the new ownership and how we do things. The most controversial thing you might hear me say is that Superman would win over Batman.”

Cardoza said he has applied for a name change but declined to make the proposed name public until it is approved by the California Alcoholic Beverage Control.

“That’s one of the major challenges – coming up with a name that makes sense and hasn’t been taken. We lost a lot of sleep trying to come up with the right name,” Cardoza said.

Although the Cardozas announced on the Twelve Rounds Facebook page that brewery has new owners, they still have plenty of work to do to get a clean slate. The brewery’s website still includes the names of Dan and Elle Murphy as the owners. A month ago, Dan Murphy announced on Facebook that he had decided to divest from the brewery, citing the firestorm over his Facebook comments and the collapse of his customer base. But behind the scenes, a deal to sell the brewery was taking shape.

“We’ve always enjoyed all of the local craft breweries. We saw an opportunity to become part of the movement and we are excited to see where it goes,” Cardoza said.

Contacted by email and voicemail for a comment, Dan Murphy responded with a series of expletive-filled text messages.

“Leave me alone. You disgust me,” Dan Murphy texted in part.

Scott Cramlet, the veteran brewer who left his longtime job at Rubicon Brewing to join the Twelve Rounds when it opened in the summer of 2015, will remain as brewmaster, said Cardoza.

“Having really great beer is essential,” he added, citing Bike Dog, Jackrabbit, Moonraker and Sactown Union among his local favorites.

Blair Anthony Robertson: 916-321-1099, @Blarob