The remodeling of a local favorite business is always a big deal and what better way to celebrate than by throwing a special reveal event for the community.
Owners Rob and Laura Valenzuela opened Insurgent Brewing Co. in June of 2016 and as the business rapidly grew within just two years, they brought in their daughter, Sarah, and son-in-law, Vini, to help run the show.
Since then, Insurgent Brewing Co. has evolved into a family-friendly environment, one that offers quality craft beer, great food and good times. As their official website states, it’s turned into a place where “you’re likely to be treated as friends or even family.”
However, hard times fell when the COVID-19 pandemic struck the world last year, which gutted the operations of many local businesses and restaurants, including Insurgent Brewing Co.
Fortunately for Rob and Laura, they managed to avoid a permanent shutdown of their brewery through the pandemic and in early 2021, they received some game-changing news.
With many small businesses severely burdened or even shut down because of COVID-19, the Yavapai College Small Business Development Center (SBDC), which operates as part of the Regional Economic Development Center, launched the Small Business Makeover program in January to address this ongoing need.
On March 12, members of the Yavapai College SBDC Team, Yavapai College Film and Cinematography crew, and Chino Valley Economic Development Project Manager Maggie Tidaback surprised Laura and Rob at their Chino Valley business. They announced to the couple that the Yavapai County chamber executives and economic development officers had selected Insurgent Brewing Co. as the first Yavapai College SBDC Makeover of a Lifetime winner in the Small Business Makeover program.
Over the next several months, the SBDC team met with Rob and Laura to identify key challenges to help Insurgent Brewing Co. pivot, attract more customers and increase revenue. Once those were identified, the SBDC brought in a team of designers and workers to lead the renovation and do the labor work.
“We got some CARES money to help businesses that were impacted by COVID and [Insurgent Brewing Co.] was shut down for like two and half months,” said Maire Platowski-Beals, business analyst at the SBDC. “We came in and said, ‘We can help you guys.’ And they need visibility from the road and they just needed to be spruced up.”
Insurgent — which is located in the small strip mall on the southwest corner of Highway 89 and Road 2 North — received a total face lift, including fresh coats of crimson red and black paint, a sizable patio space with awnings, new tables and chairs, and a new sign with the brewery’s logo that is hung right over the bar.
“Thanks to the Small Business Development Center of Yavapai College, this all was able to happen,” Rob said. “They paid for all the supplies to get the painting done and make us more visible to the community and we’re very, very thankful to the business development center.”
Insurgent Brewing Co. held a celebration event to reveal to the public its renovation on Thursday, Sept. 16. Approximately 100 or so patrons packed the brewery to enjoy its famous craft beers, signature food, and live music performed by local band Funk Frequency.
“I love it. I think its hip, I think it’s cool,” Platowski-Beals said of the brewery’s atmosphere during the event on Thursday.
When it came to making the place visible from the adjacent highway, Platowski-Beals also said it was a top priority because not many locals had even heard of the brewery before.
“I think that this is a place that I’ve talked to a lot people that lived here in Chino Valley that didn’t even know it existed. And certainly if they knew it existed, they didn’t know where it was and they didn’t know it served food … But it’s actually pretty impressive.”
The SBDC team not only helped revitalize the actual building, but it also helped improve Insurgent Brewing Co.’s website and presence on social media, which can be visited at insurgentbrewingco.com or facebook.com/insurgentbrewingco.
For more information on the Small Business Make of a Lifetime program, contact the Yavapai College SBDC at 928-717-7232.