New owners of Twelve Rounds pledge new look, good beer, plenty of goodwill

New ownership and name change coming soon to Twelve Rounds Brewery

Manny Cardoza looks ahead to bringing new life to a Sacramento brewery.
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Manny Cardoza looks ahead to bringing new life to a Sacramento brewery.

Say hello to Manny and Heather Cardoza, the new owners of once-battered and beleaguered Twelve Rounds Brewing. One of their first acts was to hang a banner out front that read, “Under new management.”

Translation: It’s safe to come back, have a beer and stay awhile at Twelve Rounds, which is due for a name change, a reset and a whole new outlook moving forward.

I met the Cardozas at the brewery and can tell you they’re cool, they know their beer, they love the industry and, best of all, they probably won’t say anything, do anything or post anything on Facebook that will make a whole bunch of craft beer folks absolutely livid.

Let’s be candid: The Twelve Rounds meltdown, which was triggered by angry, alienating, politically charged and breathtakingly misguided Facebook posts from the original owner on his personal Facebook page, was entirely avoidable. In a feel-good retail business like craft beer, you simply can’t afford to talk politics in any kind of divisive way. That applies whether you’re liberal or conservative.

The Cardozas get this.

“People are entitled to their views, but when you own a business, you can’t pick on a certain group of people. It’s no good for anybody,” said Manny Cardoza. “The main thing is that people understand this is a completely different company, business, owners. We will have a completely new look, setup and beer choices within the next month to two months.”

Manny is a real estate agent and is going to take the lead on the brewery gig. Heather says she is taking a supporting role, though she already has ideas about how to make the tasting room feel more comfortable and welcoming. The boxing posters and memorabilia will come down. The new name could take 60 to 90 days to work its way through the channels. They’re not saying what it is until it’s official.

The Cardozas bought the equipment and inherited the employees, including the devoted tasting room staff and one of the most experienced craft brewers in town in Scott Cramlet, who left his longtime gig at Rubicon to try something new with a startup. Let’s hope startup 2.0 allows him to truly showcase his brewing prowess. The Cardozas want to give him creative freedom and see where it leads.

“Scott has a lot of years of experience. He’s got a lot of styles of beer he can make. That knowledge really hasn’t been tapped into as much as it could,” Manny said.

The Cardozas initially saw an opportunity to merely be investors in the brewery, but then circumstances changed and suddenly they had a chance to be full-fledged owners.

“I’m passionate about beer,” said Heather, noting that she enjoys the laid-back vibe and quality beer at various brewery tasting rooms throughout the region.

Both of them emphasize that the beer choices for the 12 tap handles in the tasting room will emphasize balance and a range of styles. The initial thinking is to have four staples, four seasonals and four one-off/experimental beers on the menu at any one time. That way, there’s something inviting for the new craft beer drinker and something edgy and creative for the serious beer geek.

Unlike many new breweries, which tend to be isolated in industrial parks, Twelve Rounds is in a bustling neighborhood with plenty of nearby homes and businesses.

“That was one of the deciding factors to jump into this. You can’t ask for a better location,” said Manny. “That, and there being a brewery that’s basically with the material and equipment were the deciding factors for why we wanted the challenge to change the name and the reputation of what the brewery was. We want to make it into something really good for the community.”

If time heals all wounds, good beer and plenty of goodwill could speed up that process and help us forget the unfortunate chapter that led to this promising reboot.

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

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