by Terrance Mc Arthur
A few months ago, a thunderbolt shot through the Fresno arts and entertainment community—-Full Circle Brewing Co. was going to close! Kenny Young and Bill McCrory would empty the fermenting vats and shut the doors. How could it be?
Where would we go for Celtic Rock? Cluster Fuggle Ale? Circus acts? Folk-rock blues? Silent movies? Ukeleles? Puppets? Roller Derby? Burlesque shows? Root beer?
Plans and performers came together for a fantastic last-blast show on May 21, and then something happened, a new thunderbolt: Full Circle will keep on rolling!
At the last minute, two young entrepreneurs stepped in to buy the bar and brewery, and the final show changed from a wake to a celebration of the past and the future. The building was packed, Peruvian yummies were served from a food truck, and the stage hosted more acts than belonged in any one week of performances: Latin, retro string jazz, poetry, folkish, fire, blues, spoken word, rock…and every act was magic.
It was a time for memories. Christine Erickson remembered, “My niece came down and performed at one of the Rogue Festival nights.” Victor DesRoches of Boxcar Figaro looked on Full Circle as, “It’s really where I learned to perform. I’ve been performing here for ten years. I’ve played when it’s 105° in the building. I’ve played when it’s 40° in the building. Never let the weather tell you when to play.”
Local artist Aileen Imperatrice summed up the night as, “Sending off in the best possible way our friends and supporters of our arts community, Full Circle Brewing.”
Kenny Young and Bill McCrory turned a Post Office garage into a brewery, a performance venue, a gallery, and a gathering place, and they kept it going for 16 years. Asked for his best memory, Kenny looked back and said, “All the people I’ve met, the great times, and the wonderful performers.”
“Always been a beer guy. I had a body shop, and gravitated to home brew 20 years ago,” Kenny said, and that grew into Full Circle. Now, he passes on the tradition he created.
Arthur Moye and Cassidy Jakovickas are the new carriers of the Full Circle banner. They want to keep what Kenny and Bill started, and they want to move forward. Would that future include the local-brewed root beer?
Arthur said, “Root beer is huge! We want to keep the vibe, the independent, free spirit. Connect to the local brewing scene, keep it local.”
Speaking of the vibe and the future, Cassidy said, “This place is fun. We’re planning to add a kitchen and have a stronger food truck presence.”
Marketing is a key part of the new owners’ plans, including distributing Full Circle products on tap, and in bottles and cans to local vendors. Arthur said, “We want to spread the word.”
The Full Circle reputation will still be important. Cassidy talked about a “Big focus on consistency and quality. We really care about the beer being good.”
As Kenny listened to the music and conversations around him, and looked at a wall of posters from shows that spanned years of performers and styles, he called the night “A great celebration about old friends, new friends, and the type of entertainment I love.”
Goodbye, Full Circle.
Hello, Full Circle.
And the Circle rolls on.
Keep up with the changes on their Facebook page!