FreeWheel Brewery Taps into Local Community
The FreeWheel Brewing Company, founded by parents of several M-A students, is the latest addition to Marsh Manor in Redwood City. The Brewery’s open and welcoming atmosphere promises a beneficial addition to the neighborhood by providing a place of community bonding and gathering among locals.
What started out as a wild idea has been transformed into a business. Owners Malcolm McGinnis, Gary Waymire, and Larry Bucka have known each other since their sons became close friends in preschool. McGinnis, a former microbiologist, joked that he wanted to pursue “a new kind of biology,” and do something he was passionate about by creating the brewery. On a whim, the three friends and McGinnis’ business associate who resides in England bought a brewery kit and began to brew their own beer.
“The only way you can find out if you can be successful is if you go pro and become professional brewers, so we decided ‘What the heck,’” Bucka explained, commenting on their decision to start the brewery.
The trio soon created a vision for the brewery, “a gathering place where people could come after work, talk to friends, have something to eat, and become a local pub of the area.” Out of this vision came the idea of an English theme, including naturally fermented casks of beer, the likes of which one would find in a traditional British pub.
“Historically every community in England has one or more pubs, which serve as a place for people to be social and spend time with other people” commented McGinnis with regards to the brewery’s theme. Bucka also described the food sold at the brewery as “a California take on traditional English pub food,” with options including pasties and fish and chips.
However, the interior of the brewery appears to have taken a lively and original detour from the original theme, with eclectic and unusual furniture such as chicken feeders re-purposed as lights and library tables transformed into chairs.
McGinnis, Waymire, and Bucka run the brewery, sacrificing much of their time to ensure that it maintains its welcoming vibe. As M-A parents, they are established members of the community, and work to uphold this position. “We have a lot of regulars from neighborhoods, and people sometimes bring families and little kids,” according to Bucka, revealing the brewery’s positive addition to the local community.
The openness of the space and the access to the outdoors was one major characteristic that attracted the three to the area in the first place, another sign of the brewery’s community-based atmosphere.
The founders of FreeWheel Brewery hope to expand in the future, with plans in the works including multiple locations and the sale of their beers in bottles and kegs to other restaurants across the Bay Area. According to Bucka, however, these possibilities are still “a little ways down the road.”
For now, the FreeWheel Brewing Company and local community is content with its extremely successful, newfound role as a community facilitator and favorite location of many locals.