is a collective of friends and family from across the world of beer, food, and entertainment. Each member contributes something unique to help create a unique, fun experience, and of course some great beer. The portfolio of beers are diverse, ranging from their flagship M. Special American Lager, some amazing IPA's such as the Greatland IPA and Lazy Eye DIPA, to a rich and flavorful Dozer Brown Ale, and much more. You can also visit their taproom in Goleta where you'll find a welcoming space with lot's of good times to be had seven days a week.
We interview Brandon Malloy, one of the owners of M. Special and Hancock Park resident.
1. You grew up in Los Angeles, have your own family, lots of sports-centric hobbies and a busy film company with your brother. What made you wake up one day and decide to start a beer company?
We grew up in Hancock Park. Our dad did construction as did most of our family, but they encouraged us to go a different route. Despite growing up in LA we didn’t know anyone in the entertainment business other than Don Knotts who was our neighbor, but not the power player he once was. Our good friend Cara Harrell, who is also from Hancock Park got us jobs as PA’s at a post-production company. The company had a ton of equipment and at night we’d work on our own projects which lead to directing. We’ve been doing it now for 20 years and feel very lucky to still be working. We do a lot of lifestyle films and commercials for brands and thought that we should start our own brand and that happened to be in the beer space. We really loved the spirit of craft beers but didn’t love a lot of the really hoppy flavors so we came up with beers that are lighter and a bit more approachable but still made with all the care and quality ingredients that you get from craft beers. We opened about 4 years ago with a lot of our family and friends being involved, including Hancock Park legend Ted Fourticq.
2. When I was a kid it seemed like there were about 5 or so big domestic brewers and a small handful of fancy international ones. In the last 15 years or so there's been a massive emergence of craft and microbreweries. To what do you attribute this renaissance in beer production?
There are a ton of breweries out there and the big ones are still doing well, but like everything now people are becoming more and more neighborhood centric and love a good local product. We looked long and hard about opening in Hollywood but couldn’t find the right space and ended up opening in Santa Barbara where our cousin, who has the most experience in the beer space, runs it day to day. With so many breweries folks wonder how they all stay in business but the reality is we all have on-site tap rooms where people come and enjoy the beers and having a great space where you can provide live music, have a spot for food trucks, etc is a good business which helps while you grow distribution which is much harder to grow when you are small and having to compete with the big breweries.
3. You've got an M. Special Taproom in Goleta just off the 101. Tell us about that location, what goes on there (aside from consumption of great beer) and how you settled on that beautiful part of California to base your business?
We’re about 2 hours from LA in the small town of Goleta, which is part of Santa Barbara County. There was nothing like us in Goleta when we opened and we had great support from the locals, even when we were building it out. It’s not only a brewery but a hub for events, art shows, and things like that. We are in the process of opening a second location on State Street in Santa Barbara and are constantly on the look out for places in LA as me and my wife and my brothers and their families who are all involved in M. Special live in the LA area.
4. Your website has all the information a person could want about your beers and your story. That said, give us a couple of highlights of your personal favorite beers you're making? And that Grapefruit IPA sounds awesome!
Our American Lager is the most popular amongst those who like beer flavored beer, if you know what I mean. Everyone thinks Lagers are cheap and easy to make but the reality is they are the hardest and take the most time to brew. Most craft breweries don’t make a true American Lager and we felt that was important, but we also have a range of IPAs, Hazy’s, Ales, etc. Goleta is known for their fresh citrus so we have a new Grapefruit IPA called G-Town that is rapidly becoming our best selling beer, but I stick to the Lager.
5. Where in LA can people find your beer, and also...I'm guessing the name is inspired by your last name, but how did you come up with the name M. Special?
You can buy us at Larchmont Wine and Cheese. We will be at Bogies soon and are starting to appear in Wine Warehouse, BevMo and Whole Foods. If we aren’t at the one you shop at, tell them that you want it there or you will never ever shop at that store again!
The name M. Special comes from a race car my Grandpa used to have in the 50’s called The Malloy Special.
6. What do you love about living in Hancock Park. Are the rumors true that you're fulfilling beer deliveries in Hancock Park?!
Yes, during this time when everyone is at home doing their part, we are doing deliveries. You can email [email protected]
to set up a delivery or if you know me just call me.