LARKSPUR, Calif. (KGO) -- A pioneering Bay Area restaurant and brewery is calling it quits after three decades in business. Rising rents and the coronavirus pandemic has forced owners of Marin Brewing Company to make the tough decision, disappointing loyal customers.
This week friends are raising a final glass to one of their favorite places, ever.
"This place is an institution, it's the best, it's very sad," said customer Nick Lyon.
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It's where pictures of loyal customers hang and the wall, but after serving up craft beers like Mt. Tam Pale Ale and thousands of other brews for three decades, Marin Brewing Company in Larkspur is closing its doors for good.
"It's kind of breaking my heart a little, it's a real establishment here for a long time, family, friends, it's just been home," said customer Jessica Berkley.
"After all this time, we have to pack it up and move it out, a real shame," said owner and founder Brendan Moylan.
Moylan says rising rents and staffing shortages brought on by COVID-19 made it tough to stay open.
"You think you may have it ready and organized, a good back up plan, but here comes COVID, rearing its ugly head for a lot of small businesses," he said.
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Marin Brewing Company was a pioneer in California's craft beer movement, opening in 1989 when few even knew how. There have been lots of awards collected.
Former home brewer, Eric Veach brought his friends from Alameda to pay tribute.
"Any brewery you can find, they were probably inspired by this place, the genesis of the craft beer movement before it took off in the Bay Area," said Veach.
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Fifty employees work here, some will be offered jobs at the brewery's sister location Moylan's Pub in Novato.
A planned silent auction of restaurant memorabilia will raise money for fund to help employees who will be moving on.
"Losing your work family is tough. We've got a great group of people supporting us who hung in there, it's a little way we can help them," said Moylan.
The brew pub's final toast is January 31.