#InsideTheBottleShop: Pat Holden’s Liquor in Oxnard
It’s okay. If you asked me where to find craft beer in Ventura County a couple years ago, I wouldn’t have been able to come up with much either. But fast forward to today, and there are plenty of options popping up from Thousand Oaks to Ventura, and the scene is steadily growing. One of the spots contributing to that growth is none other than Pat Holden’s, an old school liquor store that sits on the edge of Downtown Oxnard.
Since 1952, Pat Holden’s Liquor has been serving up a great selection of domestic and imported wine, beer, and spirits to the local agricultural & Naval-influenced Oxnard community. But now, along with the rise in popularity of craft beer on the West Coast, Pat Holden’s has steadily stepped up their beer game, boasting one of the best selections of brew across the entire county.
Once you walk past the 50s exterior, you’re greeted by an expansive, well-lit shop with a massive stock of beverages. But there’s one spot that immediately catches your eye – the craft beer corner. This is where you’ll find a stock of rare sour and barrel-aged beers sitting on the dry shelves, backed up by door after door of cold, delicious craft beers. There’s not one style under-represented here. You’ll find IPAs from San Diego, Saisons from Santa Barbara, Stouts from San Francisco, and just about everything under the sun from LA and Ventura.
This beer selection is no accident. The brews are carefully curated by Jay Hernandez, himself a brewer and organizer of local beer club, Ventura County Beer Society. I don’t know where Jay picked up his beer chops, but he’s definitely got them. His knowledge on breweries and beer styles is unmatched and his love and passion for the product comes through loud and clear. In addition to the great beers he gets from his distributor, Jay will also personally drive down south to places like Bottle Logic in Orange County or Pizza Port in San Diego to get cases of beers that no other shop in Ventura County can get. If that’s not dedication, I don’t know what is!
Whenever I stop by the store when Jay is working, he makes sure that I don’t miss out on any of his personal recommendations, rare releases, or any new bottles they get in stock. I’ve discovered a handful of some amazing beers thanks to these suggestions. Another thing I like about Pat Holden’s is they keep a small stock of proper beer glassware to make sure customers are enjoying their brews the best way possible. It’s little details like this that show how serious Pat Holden’s takes their role in the local craft beer scene.
To keep up with all of the new arrivals coming into Pat Holden’s, make sure you follow them on Instagram. Just about every day they post up some new special brew for you to get your hands on. And coming up next month, Pat Holden’s will be launching a brand new website, CraftHoldens.com, where you’ll be able to check on their current stock, as well as reserve and pay for bottles online and pick up later at your convenience. Do you realize what this means? No more missing out on Prairie Bomb! or Cantillon Gueuze because you were stuck at work til 5pm!
So, do yourself a favor. Next time you’re cruising around Ventura County and you get that craving for a cold, citrusy IPA with some bite (don’t worry, we all do), head on over to Pat Holden’s in Downtown Oxnard. Look out for the dude with the big black beard (that’s Jay) and say what’s up. He’ll point you in the right direction.