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Jason and Keiki McKay, and Jon Bates of Seabright Brewery, Santa Cruz

By in 2020 - Volume 22 with 0 Comments

Introducing our newest RESTAURATEUR(S) OF THE QUARTER:

Jason and Keiki McKay, and Jon Bates.

Jason and Keiki, owners of Cantine Winepub in Aptos, and Jon Bates, who previously worked for the wine department at Soif in Santa Cruz, are now leading the staff at the Seabright Brewery in Santa Cruz. Former owners Charlie Meehan and Keith Cranmer operated the business for more than 30 years and in March 2020 sold the business through Restaurant Realty.

Established in 1988, Seabright Brewery was created when co-owners Charlie and Keith joined forces. Charlie was a home brewer winning homebrew competitions and his childhood friend Keith had just sold his previous business, and together they decided to open a brewery. The craft brewery was the sixth brewery in the state to open and today there are close to 1,000 breweries in California.

Jason and Keiki have nearly 30 years of experience in the food and drink industry and Jon even longer. Keiki is originally from Kauai, graduated from UC Santa Cruz and stayed in the area. Cantine Winepub opened in the summer of 2014, and Jason and Keiki will continue to run it alongside Seabright Brewery.

Jon got his start at Chez Panisse in Berkeley. He later worked at the Italian restaurant Oliveto in Oakland as the Wine and Spirits Director. He has also been selling wine for the past 12 years. Jon’s father wrote the bill that made homebrewing legal in 1978. Jason, Keiki and Jon are longtime friends however this is their first restaurant together.

The Three New Owners complement each other and they all bring different strengths to the sides of the business and they have all been in the business for a long time and they have been good friends for a long time.
Jason and Keiki had an interest in expanding their brand and when the opportunity came to take over the brewery, they felt like they could inject their expertise into the space and work with what it had to offer. Jason grew up in Santa Cruz and the brewery has always been a part of his life and Keiki is excited to be part of the neighborhood and take over a business that has lasted so long.

Jason and Keiki plan to elevate brewery operations and the restaurant’s food with fresher ingredients and a slimmer menu and they will also expand their cocktail offerings, integrate their wine expertise and make small changes to the restaurant’s decor. Jon expects to have eight local wines on tap, and more than 30 international wines available by the bottle. In the future they may do some additional remodeling to create more of a lounge atmosphere and possibly change the name.

We wish Keiki, Jason and Jon much success in their new business and wish Charlie and Keith an enjoyable retirement.

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