With a love of craft beer and an intense desire to join the craft brewing movement, Michael and Dave LaCross set out either to start or purchase a brewery somewhere in the San Francisco Bay Area. In May 2014 they wound up purchasing the established and award-winning Schooner’s Grille and Brewery in Antioch, CA. They immediately supported their Brewmaster, Craig Cauwels, in entering craft beer competitions and started off with a bang by winning California Brewery of the Year at the California State Fair in 2014, going up against all the heavy hitters in California. Over the past ten years, Craig has produced some of the very best craft beers in the country. He has racked up a slew of awards at major beer competitions including ten medals from the Great American Beer Festival (GABF) and four at the World Beer Cup, the largest beer competitions in the world. Our most recent win was a Gold Medal for our Apogee Baltic Porter at the 2016 World Beer Cup. Check out the Awards page for a complete list.
With such a history, it was very puzzling that a brewery of that quality had never sought to distribute beyond a few local watering holes. The new owners joked that outside Antioch, Schooner’s had the best beer that nobody ever tasted.
They decided to remedy that situation by focusing all their attention on brewing great beer, significantly increasing manufacturing capacity, and to begin distributing as far and wide as practical. To that end, they acquired a large warehouse at 1885 N. MacArthur Drive in Tracy, CA, adapted it for brewing, added a beautiful tasting room, and re-branded as Morgan Territory Brewing — to get a fresh start and to avoid potential trademark issues outside California. The space comes with the advantage of being able to grow to 25,000 barrels which meant they had to reinforce the foundation to accommodate the weight of 120 barrel fermenters, add a very large boiler and Cool Fit glycol system along with a reverse osmosis water treatment system and a gargantuan cool room, large enough to drive a fork lift in. The cool room is the best place to work on a hot day.
Morgan Territory Brewing is taking on the Wild West. Named after a historic ranch located on the “morning side” of Mount Diablo, Morgan Territory Brewing is dedicated to the rich, independent character of the early pioneers that made California great. They are committed to producing bold and diverse, high-quality craft beers, and continuing their award-winning legacy.
“Now I faced a decision – could I make a career out of brewing? With the support of my wife, we sold the house, packed everything up, and drove across country to begin a new adventure and I’ve never looked back.”Craig Cauwels
In all other respects the operation has not changed: same ownership, same Brewmaster, same passion, and most importantly, the same great craft beer (plus a few new aces up our sleeves — it is the Wild West, after all). The craft beer world is increasingly competitive, but Morgan Territory intends to leave its mark. Even with the storied history, this is really just the beginning. As you taste all the creative and distinctive beers, be sure to tell your friends and family about your favorites and if you are a connoisseur then rate our beers and share your thoughts.