Kris Parker, grandson of the late Fess Parker, is working to open Santa Barbara’s newest brewery operation. With the help of a few friends, family members and business partners, Parker is bringing Third Window Brewing to the new commercial development known as The Mill at the corner of Laguna and Haley streets. He’ll be joined by winemaker Dave Potter, who is launching his second label, Potek, in the same development along with a restaurant concept called Wildwood Kitchen launched by husband and wife duo Justin and Emma-Claire West, owners of Restaurant Julienne.
Third Window will get its start on hand-me-down equipment that Placentia-based The Bruery originally started brewing on. Patrick Rue, founder of The Bruery, is a partner in Third Window and offered the brewhouse on which his company got its start. Kris’ father, Eli Parker, CEO of the Fess Parker Winery & Vineyard, is also behind the project.
The operation will run up to eight fermentation tanks to start. The brewery, which will have an on site taproom much like its nearby neighbor Telegraph Brewing Co., is about 5,000 square feet with anticipated production of 1,600 to 2,000 barrels in its first year.
“I’ve spent nearly my entire life watching and participating in the ebb and flow of Santa Barbara wine,” Parker told the Business Times. “I love the wine business and I love the way that wine, when created in an uncompromising fashion, can tell the story of a year’s weather and activity from the perspective of a singular place. I think there’s room for that idea in beer.”
Parker said the freedom to create, rapidly iterate and improve the liquid is what turned his attention to the beer business.
“I spent eight years or so working on beer concepts and collaborated on the business plan with friends from business school,” he said. “All of the core partners hold an equal membership in Third Window and were selected first because they were friends, and second because their skill sets were complementary.”
Third Window is anticipating a fall opening. The brewery is currently winnowing the field in search of its brewmaster and plans to hire about eight employees.
“We are being extremely selective in our search for a brewmaster,” Parker said. “We have narrowed the search to three to four candidates. Between Patrick and Eli’s beer [and] fermentation knowledge, we are confident we’ll have great beer and are looking for a person who will fit and contribute to our culture.”