My name is Eddie Trejo. I'm the owner of Machete Beer House in National City. I've been drinking beer since I was about 2 years old. (No joke, I got drunk at an uncle's wedding by reaching up to tables and grabbing people's beers). Why my parents weren't watching me or nobody said anything to them, I don't know.
But I finally got into craft beer in my late teens/early 20s. As an 18 year old dessert & salad cook (can you even call that a cook??) at a restaurant in La Jolla, my station was next to the bar, where I naturally figured out a way to talk the bartenders into feeding me alcohol (ps. it wasn't that hard). One of the permanent handles there was a now defunct, former craft beer called yellowtail pale. That was my baby for years.
I grew up in Linda Vista, so naturally their brewery across from USD was the first brewery I walked into as a college student looking to brew and drink beer. After one drunk and exhausting brew session with a friend who owned equipment, I decided to put that career path on hold and focus on the important drinking aspect of craft beer. After all, how much of a business is a brewery without consumers to pay for their products?!
In my quest for good (and affordable) beer, I started trying everything from Sierra Nevada and Newcastle, to all the local options that starting jumping out to me. I was a sucker for the taunting of Greg Koch and his arrogant bastard challenge. Luckily for my broke roommates and myself, we were a 2 block walk from the lovely blue-roofed Linda Liquor, where the local brewery sales reps arrived WAY before their demand. Sadly for them, the management would see their samples sit on shelves undrank, so we would come in and haggle amazing deals for these beers. After that I would refuse to drink lesser quality beer (usually). I starting seeking out other local and imported breweries at the perfect time, the industry was just starting to really grow.
Work life took me through twists and turns, and around 2008 I ended up working a few blocks from O'briens. Between them, Hamiltons, and the other usual suspects around town... my beer drinking education was really coming together. Thanks, Tyson, Blair, et all--for a world-class beer education.
My beautiful wife, Joann Cornejo and I were also exploring the beer and food scene in Baja (Mexico in general) for many years, where we made some amazing friendships. Anyone remember TJ beer fest circa 2012? I think Ivan Maldonado was with Mission Brewery at the time and he still thought his shit didn't stink back then. Every SD Beer Week, we throw a big Baja event where all 30 of our taps are provided from our friends down south. Working with the importers and Brewers to get this done can be a pain in the dick, but we love the event, so we will continue doing it foreverrrrr.
After a few years of this field research, I decided to join the industry. I started looking everywhere from Stone to the small new breweries that were popping up. Around 2011 or 2012 I ended up actually studying the bjcp and cicerone server programs. I became a tour guide for the awesome Jon and Mindy at Brewery Tours of San Diego, where I drove people around in a mid-sized bus and boozed them up while teaching them what I knew about beer. I also landed a great gig as a sales rep for California craft distributors, where I dealt mostly with chain stores and some amazing craft-centric beer businesses. We served up some of the most awesome beers available at the time, like Cascade, FiftyFifty, Crooked Stave, and we launched Almanac into the market. It was a great experience and I met some really cool people from the industry.
I figured out pretty quickly that I wanted to be my own boss in the industry. And I set out to figure out business models, making a business plan, looking for perfect locations and finding funding.
My search led me to National City, where Joann was born and raised. Having been together for almost a dozen years, we obviously had some emotional connection to the City. Right around that time, everyone started seeing the obvious lack of craft beer options in South Bay, so the timing was perfect. I ended up finding a great spot, which was a dirty little shithole bar from 1969. After struggling with escrow and funding and bureaucratic shit, I finally got in on 12/13/14. What a date, right?
So I quickly set out to rip out all the old shit and transform the building, the business, and the overall energy of our little piece of the block. That was the birth of Machete Beer House. After painstaking labor and tons of headaches, we finally got open on Feb. 5th. 2015.
It's been an amazing journey and it has led us to even more friendships and shared experiences with others in the industry and beyond. Having opened the first craft beer bar in the South Bay, we have had struggles and victories, but overall, I am honored to be part of such an amazing group of business owners and craft beer lovers. The reception we were given was awesome, and the momentum of our beloved #southbayuprising as a whole is stronger than ever!