Most people probably think of Lengthwise as the place that brought fresh brewed beer to Bakersfield. Probably because those same people forgot or never visited Bootlegger’s restaurant when it was open. Ralph Fruguglietti (owner of Frugatti’s) opened Bootleggers restaurant in the Ice House, just north of the Garces Circle off Chester Avenue, around 1994. It’s big draw was the brewery inside. A couple of dudes by the name of Jeff Williams and Darin Schwicker were put in charge of making the beer and managing the restaurant. Ralph even bottled two of the more popular flavors, Big Red and the Voluptuous Blonde ales. At the time we had done the logos for both Frugatti’s and Bootlegger’s, so Ralph commissioned us to design the labels for the bottles. Jim Bennett a talented illustrator working for me at the time, did the illustrations and designed the logos. His wife served as the model for the Voluptuous Blonde. This was pre-computer times. Both illustrations were painstakingly rendered with colored pencils.
But I digress- we were talking about Lengthwise here weren’t we? Long story short, Ralph decided to focus on Frugatti’s and closed Bootleggers. It was 1998 and Jeff and Darin bought the brewing equipment and leased some obscure warehouse space on east Schirra Court… and started making beer. “how did they come up with the name Lengthwise?” you may ask. “Darin and I used to be on the swim team, and you’d swim practice sessions lengthwise.”, was Jeff’s seemingly logical explanation.
I designed their logo in exchange for some of their “liquid gold”. Jeff was also doing some consulting and building breweries. He even helped build one in Russia. Darrin was brewing beer, perfecting recipes and living at the brewery. They developed a small but devoted following. But it was no “rock-star” lifestyle. Darin told me at one of my many visits, “Willie, if something doesn’t happen soon, I’m going back to college.” And by “something happening” I think he meant “making money”. In 2002 they decided to go all-in and moved about 600 yards west to a new building on Schirra Court.
They moved the brewing equipment, outfitted it with a kitchen and lined the walls with original art by local artist, Ryan Rickard. Oh, and don’t forget the museum of collectable vintage motorcycles, Harleys, Indians and a bunch of Japanese bikes.
In spite of the fact they don’t benefit from “drive by” traffic, like they would get, say, if they were located facing White Lane, the restaurant and brewery thrives. Octoberfest, Saint Paddy’s day and New Year’s Eve are sell-out events. They even have a cool little meeting room in the brewing area that you can rent for special occasions or company parties.
We designed the menu and various t-shirts along the way.
They even roast their own coffee and have a line of seasonings.
Things were going so great that they decided to bring Lengthwise to the Northwest. On July 15th, 2011 they opened up their second location on Calloway just north of Rosedale highway. Despite the fact that there was no fanfare, no ads, no guy standing on the corner with an arrow, the response has been tremendous. On a typical day Jeff said they were serving three times as many pints of beer than the original location. In a recent email I received from Jeff, he said he’s got his eye on downtown next. I don’t doubt it. When you have the quality and service that Lengthwise has, your success is almost guaranteed. I like to think Willis Design was part of that success.
Lengthwise The Pub
2900 Calloway Drive
Bakersfield, CA 93312
Brewery & Restaurant
6720 Schirra Court
Bakersfield, CA 93313