In January, Mark Purciel decided to shut down his 11-year-old passion project, Oceanside Ale Works (1800 Ord Way. Oceanside). At the time, Purciel expected to reopen the business once he got past legal issues with his former business partner, Scott Thomas. A recent social-media post from Oceanside Ale Works announced a grand reopening event at the company’s tasting room on Saturday, March 17, signaling the expected revival of the North County interest. There’s just one thing—Purciel might not be a part of this event or anything else OAW-related moving forward.
As part of the aforementioned legal proceedings, Purciel may be required to sign a non-compete clause. That document could prohibit him from operating a brewery. Because of this, he has opted to sell the Oceanside Ale Works brand—for a whopping $250—to people he believes will do right by the business he’s built. Those new OAW stewards are Richard Bell, his fiancé Leah Dardis and brewer Lance Jergensen. Bell was looking to start a business focusing on small-batch, Mexican-inspired beers called Papi Chulo Brew Works, and was in search of a turnkey facility to take over when he met Jergensen on a related internet forum.
Jergensen is returning to Southern California, where he brewed at Pasadena’s Crown City Brewing from 1988 to 1991, before spending a decade working for New Belgium Brewing in Fort Collins, Colorado, during the formative years of iconic Belgian-style amber ale, Fat Tire. In addition to his work with New Belgium, he was one of the original brewers for the Vista Oggi‘s brewpub. He has also operated his own company, Rebel Malting, which supplied his Adelanto, California-based family business Jergensen Brewing before focusing on a largely Nevadan customer base. The most recent chapters of his career saw him heading Piegon Head Brewing and Tonopah Brewing outside Reno.
Bell and Jergensen are leasing OAW’s tasting-room-equipped facility from Purciel and, while there are plans to expand production, for now, they intend to stick with what’s worked for the business. This includes continuing to brew OAW recipes, while also endeavoring to be active, productive members of the Oceanside community. Bell would very much like to maintain a working relationship with Purciel, who he says is the face of OAW as far as he’s concerned. There is a chance that Purciel’s non-compete may be composed in a manner that allows him to be involved with OAW in some capacity in the future, but for now he has zero involvement with operations, and says he is looking forward to some time off and enjoying beer from the other side of the bar with friends.