Meet Adam at Grape & Grain

We love having such a dynamic downtown in San Mateo full of unique concept businesses. One of the most popular downtown neighbors we enjoy is Grape and Grain, a fun, interactive and casual space featuring craft brew, interesting small production wines, and light snacks paired with a wall of games to share a fun evening with friends. The result, a spot that breaks the rules, falling somewhere between highbrow and lowbrow, where everyone enjoys convening. Adam Simpson, Owner at Grape and Grain joins us on July 19th at Bay Meadows for a specialty pop-up Beer and Wine garden. We caught up with Adam to ask him a few Q’s about the business:

Q: We’re excited to welcome Grape and Grain to our very first Movies in the Meadow with a Popup Beer and Wine Garden. Is this the first time Grape and Grain is doing a Beer and Wine garden at such an event?

This will be the first off premise event I will participate in. I just acquired an additional permit which allows me to serve off site.  As a San Mateo native, I am very excited to be apart of the new community.

Q: Do you remember when and where you were when you first decided Grape and Grain was going to be your future business venture?

I think everyone always expects a romantic story when people get into the food/beverage industry, but frankly, mine is somewhat boring.  I was studying small business in college and dropped out at 20 years old.  I immediately began working in the wine industry.  I started working for the prior business in my current facility called 750ml a few months after I was legal to enter the venue.  After a year or two, I began to really understand what it took to run a small business, and more specifically a beverage establishment.  I always had a huge interest for craft product and found beer when I was 23.  In early 2011, I began to figure out a way to start my own venture which led me to approach the owner of 750ml to purchase the business.  A few weeks after my 25th birthday, we had our first day of business on August 21st, 2011.

Q: Name 3 ideal drink and snack menu pairings:

I am a huge believer in drinking and eating with the seasons and in the moment.  In summer, there is nothing like a clean dry rose with some grilled summer veggies, as we get into fall it is the time of hop harvest and I gravitate towards fresh hop beers and spicy foods, by winter all I want is big barrel aged stouts and fuller bodied Pinot paired up with stick to your bones foods.  That all being said, I could drink a classic Belgian Gueuze anytime, with nearly any food.

Q: There’s a lot of buzz around the relaxed vibe and your exceptional knowledge of your inventory at Grape and Grain. What do you think distinguishes your business and products?

Grape and Grain was a project started based on not following rules.  There is a big delineation between a “fancy” restaurant bar and a “dive” bar.  I found that the happy medium between did not exist in the area.  I frequented plenty of craft centric and casual venues in San Francisco and wanted to bring that to my hometown.  It speaks to who I am as a person.  I love the juxtaposition of having suits next to flip flops and shorts.  As far as the product goes, I have been working with craft wine and beer for over 7 years at this point.  We work with mostly small wine producers from California and craft breweries all over the world.  My knowledge and interest in these products come down to the simple fact that it is what I believe in and love.


Q: How do you source your beer and wine?

Being so embedded and personally interested in the wine and beer industry, we don’t really have to “work” to find product.  I naturally keep up with brewery openings, beer releases, upcoming winemakers, etc.

Q: Any trends or particular interests you’re seeing from customers that are driving product decisions lately?

Current trends in both wine and beer are leaning towards what we have always done and care about.  Focusing on small batch, quality product at affordable prices.  People are realizing more and more that wine is not always a “get what you pay for,” product.  I love a $5 bottle of Vinho Verde just as much as a $100 single vineyard Pinot, it is all just about the mood, food and season.  Breweries are popping up everywhere which is allowing people to have access to super fresh beer that has a local flare.  Styleistically, breweries are trying to pack a ton of flavor into a more sessionable (low abv) brew which is working well.  Sour beer is probably the most upcoming style around right now which is an absolute favorite of mine.

Red or White? Rose
Ale or Lager? Kolsch
At the end of the day, I pour myself a: Rye Manhattan
The board game I always reach for first is: Cards Against Humanity
Favorite South Bay Craft Beer: Almanac
What 80’s movie best describes Grape and Grain? The Goonies
The 3 things I love most about San Mateo are: Proximity to sand, snow, water. “The City” Balance. Taqueria El Nayarita.

As we develop community, we want to see how you live or play at Bay Meadows. Share your fun lifestyle photos with our community by using #baymeadowslife in our Fame x Frame Photo Contest. You could WIN $50 or our Grand Prize of $500 at the end of 2014 and be featured in a live pop-up photo gallery exhibit. Click here for official rules. Each month, Bay Meadows will select one photo to WIN a $50 gift card at Whole Foods Market San Mateo. Simply hop on instagram or twitter at tag us using #baymeadowslife or submit up to 10 photos per month to .

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