Business partners Drew Ciora (left) and Mike Hernandez sip on craft beers in the yard area of 1886 Brewing Company. The duo opened Smoqued BBQ, their first joint venture together, in 2012, but are excited to celebrate their first holiday season in their newest brewery.
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1886 Brewing Company & Smoqued BBQ
This winter, Owners Mike Hernandez and Drew Ciora of Smoqued BBQ and 1886 Brewing Company hope to lift holiday spirits in Orange through both of their businesses. At Smoqued BBQ, Hernandez plans to bring back his annual toy drive benefiting the Ronald McDonald House.
“We usually throw a party and invite our restaurant VIPs to come and celebrate,” says Mike. “In turn, they bring gifts and we end up with several trucks full of toys. We’re excited to do that this year.”
This year marks the seventh anniversary of the toy drive, and Mike envisions the event as a way for the restaurants and community members to give back.
“The toy drive is one of my favorite events of the year. The community gathers, and it’s a season of joyful giving,” says Lauren Hernandez, Mike’s wife and owner of Laurenly Boutique in Old Towne.
Hernandez will host his toy drive event on the patio of 1886 Brewing Co., now open to the public as an event venue. He’s had several companies book holiday office parties in the space and has availability for other events.
“The back patio is like its own little unique venue within our restaurant,” he says. “It’s an intimate setting for events with a customized menu and its own satellite bar for guests.” The patio is decked out with ample seating, heat lamps, lights and weather covering.
Although 1886 Brewing Co. officially opened last November, the pandemic made it difficult to fully enjoy the brewpub and its offerings. This is the first year that customers will be able to dine indoors during the winter, and the staff hope to create a welcoming atmosphere filled with festive spirits.
“I think of the brewery as a hub for the city, and we love having everyone get together to eat and drink,” says Lauren. “When we have it decorated, it will feel warm and cozy, making it the perfect gathering spot for everyone to enjoy throughout the season.”
Over at Smoqued BBQ, the chefs will host multiple turkey smoking classes for customers. As Thanksgiving approaches, Mike hopes that the Smoqued turkey courses will give people an opportunity to try a new cooking concept for their meat.
After opening a new business during the pandemic, Mike and Lauren are grateful for the community’s support over the past year. “Last year was such a gray time for people, and we missed that holiday cheer,” says Lauren. “We’re thankful for the people in Orange, and we want to give them a space to forget about the stress in their worlds.”
1886 Brewing Company
114 North Glassell St., Old Towne Orange, CA 92866 / 714-922-8130
Smoqued California BBQ
128 North Glassell St., Old Towne Orange, CA 92866 / 714-633-7427