A can release of Dude double IPA, depicting Oceanside Ale Works cofounder Mark Purciel on the label.
  • A can release of Dude double IPA, depicting Oceanside Ale Works cofounder Mark Purciel on the label.
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Officially, Oceanside Ale Works has closed. But the brewers at 1800 Ord Way expect to be making beer again soon.

A mural decorating 12-year-old Oceanside Ale Works, which closed on January 6th.

On January 5th, Oceanside's first brewery used social media posts to announce it would close the following day: "It is with a heavy heart that we announce that this Saturday the 6th will be our last day," one read. "After 12 years of #goodtimes with #goodpeople we have to say goodbye."

It marked the third San Diego County brewery in as many weeks to announce its closure, and made Oceanside Ale Works the oldest active brewery to close in the 29 years of San Diego's craft-beer era.

Except, this is not the story of a longtime brewery forced out of business by rising competition; rather, it's the dissolution of a partnership.

"I've been in a business partner dispute for four years now," revealed cofounder Mark Purciel during his tasting room's last day open to the public. "I have a 50/50 business partner. He went Bowe Bergdahl on me four years ago."

In 2006, math teacher Purciel opened Oceanside Ale Works with a homebrewing partner, firefighter Scott Thomas. Purciel contends Thomas left the business abruptly and hasn't come back — hence the comparison to the infamously AWOL Bergdahl. "He just bounced," Purciel recalled. "He got pissed off about the Dude label."

That would be the Dude Double IPA, which the brewery began releasing in 22-ounce bottles in late 2013 following a gold medal win at that year's San Diego International Beer Festival. The label depicts Purciel in thick beard and sunglasses, echoing "The Dude" character from 1998 film, The Big Lebowski.

Scott Thomas could not be reached for comment.

Purciel characterized the split as "litigious" and said his preference was to buy out Thomas's half of the partnership, but "He never gave me a legitimate [buyout] offer." Four years on, Purciel ultimately decided to shut down the business as a means of ending the partnership, planning to "liquidate the assets and then split the profits."

However, Purciel indicates many of the assets belong to him alone and that he will use them to re-open under a new business entity. "I own the building, and I own the equipment," he said, "so I don't have to do anything, really, if I wanted to reopen." However, first the closure of Oceanside Ale Works must be completed, which he anticipates will take a month or longer. "You have to make a clean break," he said. "Close the books on the partnership. Get rid of all the inventory. Close down for a few weeks…then I can go back and re-open."

Purciel added that he owns the trademark as well but doesn't yet know whether he'll return to the San Diego beer business under the name Oceanside Ale Works, suggesting it could just as well be something like Oceanside Barrel Project or North County Ale Works. "The name's really irrelevant," he said. "It's what's in the glass that's important."

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dwbat Jan. 8, 2018 @ 9:09 p.m.

The DUDE image is really not very appealing, or even funny. Maybe outlaw motorcycle gangs would like it.


Kathy123 Jan. 9, 2018 @ 10:44 a.m.

Weird. It's their top selling beer sold pretty much EVERYWHERE.


Kathy123 Jan. 9, 2018 @ 6:41 p.m.

No - He spelled it correctly -DUDE!


dwbat Jan. 10, 2018 @ 9:59 a.m.

Of all the canned/bottled/boxed foods in my cupboard, I don't see one with a photo of the CEO on the label. The wonderful Paul Newman did it, but that was a nonprofit operation. Heads of companies do NOT belong in their advertising and marketing, even though the majority of car dealers do it. Most people don't give a horse's patoot who the CEO is when they purchase a product, and they certainly don't need to see his/her photo. It's already bad enough the way local/regional egotistical business owners do it constantly. Enough, please!


Kathy123 Jan. 10, 2018 @ 10:32 a.m.

As I said, some mindless statements are better left unsaid. Saying that someone's face doesn't belong on the label ridiculous. Seemingly, you have missed the point of referencing the movie entirely. That's okay though. Not everyone is quick with references.

If you are going to sit behind your computer and fire off snide comments, be prepared that there is someone out there that will call you on it.


dwbat Jan. 10, 2018 @ 5:11 p.m.

I'm VERY aware of "The Big Lebowski" reference. I was a film major in college. ;-) So I didn't "miss" anything. I can probably name more films and movie trivia in 3 minutes than you can in 30 minutes. P.S. Speaking of references, here's a trivia question, and don't use Google. In the Coen brothers "Barton Fink," what writer was character Barton Fink loosely based on?


Kathy123 Jan. 10, 2018 @ 7:10 p.m.

Let me put it to you another way so perhaps you will understand (note sarcasm) Here goes: How would you like someone to write on a message board for all the world to see that an image of YOU was not appealing. Do you have any idea at all how completely RUDE and unforgivably hurtful your comment is?

While meaningless film trivia may be your strength it is abundantly clear that you seem to fall short on simple manners.


dwbat Jan. 10, 2018 @ 7:57 p.m.

When one has the egotism to put their face on a beer can, all bets are off. That person is going to get likes and dislikes. If the person (or his friends) can't stand a critique, that's too bad. And "all the world" doesn't look at website comments. You are welcome to say an image of me is "not appealing." I couldn't care less. As with most print journalists, my talent is not in my looks. ;-) So have a ball, and post your thoughts on my "image." Your commentary is getting amusing. It's called making a mountain out of a molehill, or a tempest in a teapot. Why doesn't the beer "DUDE" defend himself here? Yeah, I know. He couldn't care less, either.


Ponzi Jan. 10, 2018 @ 8:39 p.m.

IMO It's not appealing either. In fact I never heard of DUDE because I am not a participant in the beer frenzy. The picture on the can is stupid. Want a second opinion? It's also ugly. And I would feel stupid drinking from that can. I certainly can't see any "cool factor" in that can. The rest of the nation would probably have a good laugh too! Ever heard of "Billy Beer?" Yeah, reminds me of that clown.

Don't join in internet forums if you want to see "nice" and "simple manners." This is where we don't have to be polite, just state our opinions.


dwbat Jan. 10, 2018 @ 9:18 p.m.

Ponzi, I was being nice by calling the face "not very appealing." But "stupid" and "ugly" was what I really thought, too. At least Billy Carter didn't have the gall to put his ugly face on his beer cans.

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Ponzi Jan. 11, 2018 @ 5:09 p.m.

http://www.sandiegoreader.com/users/p...">https://media.sandiegoreader.com/img/..." alt="None">

I don't see any resemblance to Jeff Bridges.


dwbat Jan. 11, 2018 @ 6:27 p.m.

hahaha Wasn't this a toilet-bowl cleaner commercial? ;-)


Ponzi Jan. 11, 2018 @ 6:56 p.m.

Jeff Bridges plays Jeff Lebowski who insists on being called "the Dude," a laid-back, easygoing burnout who happens to have the same name as a millionaire whose wife owes a lot of dangerous people a whole bunch of money -- resulting in the Dude having his rug soiled, sending him spiraling into the....

Kinda like this beer brewing partnership.... down the toilet.

Not to fret, I heard Kim Dotcom just changed his name (again) to Kim Blockchain (to be relevant). Maybe Dude Brands can claim to be the first Beer Blockchain, have an ICO and put that failed partnership in the rear-view mirror and gallop on to Beer Brewing Blockchain riches. I've seen crazier things, like the subject beer can.


dwbat Jan. 12, 2018 @ 8:53 a.m.

I've researched "blockchain" and have to admit I still don't get it at all. It totally baffles me. Subway sounds like a blockchain, because they have one on just about every block!


Visduh Jan. 13, 2018 @ 9:06 a.m.

That comment made about the partner going "Bowe Bergdahl" on him was how he felt, but might be seen as slanderous. Partnerships can be very hard to keep going, and one key factor usually is that neither partner in a two-person operation acts unilaterally. That's where all this bitterness seems to have originated.


Ponzi Jan. 13, 2018 @ 3:52 p.m.

Visdah, agreed.
I have been in a few business partnerships, one of them was miserable. Bad partnerships are worse than a bad marriage. With a marriage, you can move out, and move on. But a partnership in most cases you are going to lose “your job” and the business as well as other annoyances. Older and wiser you also realize that there needs to be some compromise and deal making because you’re both in it together and there are two sides to every story. Also, too many partnerships do not have well prepared agreements that should be the guide to enforce and resolve such situations.


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