Humboldt Brewing Co. Back in Humboldt


After decades of out-of-county ownership as far away as South Carolina, Humboldt Brewing Co. is back in local hands. Andy Ardell, owner of Humboldt Brews, has bought the operation with his brother David Ardell. Starting this week, Carlos Sanchez, who brewed the company's original Red Nectar pale ale 30 years ago, will do so again today at Six Rivers Brewery on the very equipment it acquired from Humboldt Brewing Co.
New Humboldt Brewing Co. co-owner Andy Ardell with brewer Carlos Sanchez at Six River Brewery. - COURTESY OF MEREDITH MAIER
  • Courtesy of Meredith Maier
  • New Humboldt Brewing Co. co-owner Andy Ardell with brewer Carlos Sanchez at Six River Brewery.

“We just thought we’d bring it back to Arcata where it actually started … bring it back home I guess,” says Ardell, who bought Humboldt Brews as a separate business with nine others 17 years ago. "I honestly didn't think I was gonna do 17 years," he says, chuckling.

The plan is to brew 14 kegs at a time, following up with the popular Smoky Hazy Hemp IPA and releasing the beer at four local taps — Six Rivers Brewery, Humboldt Brews, the Local Cider Bar in Arcata and the Madrone — for the anniversary of Humboldt Brews on March 19. Eventually he and his brother may find a contract brewer in the Bay Area and sell beyond the county's borders, but not yet. "We just gotta see how it works," he says.

Due to the pandemic, Humboldt Brews has only been open for takeout and outdoor dining of late, down to a dozen employees from 33. “My venue has been dark since March 6,” says Ardell, who is using the space as Humboldt Brewing Co.'s office for now. He's looking ahead at hosting bands again in fall, COVID permitting, but doubts it'll be the same three to five shows a week the stage saw before. Brewing may make up some of that income.

“It’s been a long year,” Ardell says with a laugh. “We’re starting small and I just hope. ... Obviously the timing wasn’t the best but were gonna make the most of it.”

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