Coming to Fruition

UCSC alumni duo Tallula Preston and David Purgason make their mark on the craft beer community in Santa Cruz and Watsonville

From left to right: David Purgason and Tallula Preston at Fruition Brewing  (Photos by Carolyn Lagattuta)
David Purgason and Tallula Preston stand behind the bar at Fruition Brewing

Fruition Brewing was a name that was almost too good to be true. 

For UC Santa Cruz alumni Tallula Preston and David Purgason, fruition—the attainment of something desired, a realization, or accomplishment—was the perfect name for their brewery founded in 2019. Now four years later, the duo’s establishment is a staple in the Santa Cruz and Watsonville craft beer scene. 

Fruition Brewing’s sours were named Best of Santa Cruz by the Good Times in 2021, and the brewery won NEXTies’ new business of the year in 2020.

“We’ve doubled our production since we opened, and it’s hard to believe that we’re about to turn four,” David said. “I feel super fortunate. We have a fantastic team along this ride with us.”

The duo often uses their space to host community events, most recently encouraging folks to come out to Fruition Brewing on April 2 and donated a portion of their sales to help raise funds for Pajaro Valley flood victims. In partnership with Pajaro Valley Pride the community raised just over $15,000. In February, Tallula and David hosted a UCSC alumni gathering. 

“It was awesome seeing different generations of UCSC alumni ranging from the 80s to the 2000s and seeing them all enjoying beer and some snacks and connecting,” Tallula said. 

Fruitful beginnings 

Tallula graduated from UCSC with a combined degree in environmental studies and biology in 2010, and David graduated in 2012 with a degree in environmental studies. David wrote his senior thesis on “The Sustainability of Craft Beer in California” and knew he would pursue a career in the craft beer industry. 

Both Tallula and David say their background in environmental studies, and sustainability inform their decisions and practices at Fruition Brewing. The brewery is a carbon-neutral business and utilizes organic grain. They also partner with local farmers who use organic and sustainable practices.  

“There are always choices that have to be made, and we’re doing our best to make sustainable ones every step of the way,” Tallula said. “But we also want to ensure we succeed, make good beer, and have a place that can last. So we are doing what we can to balance that line.”

The duo met at Seven Bridges Organic Brewing Supply, a now-closed certified organic establishment. 

“Understanding where my food comes from was always important to me,” Tallula said. “Being at UCSC just dialed it all in. I got involved with many environmental organizations and couldn’t imagine doing anything else.”

Fruition Brewing can be found selling cans of their craft beer at farmers’ markets around Santa Cruz County. 

“We both cared deeply about supporting our local farms, and we’re super blessed to be surrounded by an area with a ton of awesome producers who care about organic and sustainable practices,” David said. “We have had a stand in the farmers market for years, and it’s only furthered our relationship directly with growers.” 

After meeting at Seven Bridges, Tallula and David began forming their business plan and looking for an ideal place in the county in 2016. In 2019, they opened Fruition Brewing at 918 East Lake Ave in Watsonville. 

Brewing through the pandemic

Eight months after the grand opening of Fruition Brewing, the COVID-19 pandemic forced shops worldwide to shut down and change their operations. 

Fruition Brewing, a newly opened establishment that had not planned on selling canned beer, quickly pivoted its plans to sustain itself. 

“Most people didn’t even know that we had opened yet,” Tallula said. “We were forced to pivot immediately, and within 24 hours, we had our online store up and we were selling crowlers through our website for both home delivery and contactless pickup. We did deliveries every day, seven days a week, for months.”

Around 2021 they had opened the Fruition Kitchen and began serving food, including fresh oysters, grilled cheese sandwiches, alongside seasonal soups, salads & snacks.They were also grateful to have ample outdoor patio space. In 2023, Fruition Brewing continues to look ahead to the future.

“It’s impossible to know what it could have been like if the pandemic didn’t force us to grow,” Tallula said. “We’ve grown a lot, and we’re feeling good and proud of where we are.”