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Mad Duck Sets Mid-April Opening for Big Brewpub at Copper River
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By Edward Smith
Published 4 weeks ago on
March 25, 2024
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Mad Duck has set an April 15 opening for its brewpub near Copper River in northeast Fresno. (GV Wire Composite/Eric Martinez)

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A popular brewpub hatching across Fresno and Clovis over the past 14 years will debut its northeast location in mid-April.

Alex Costa, co-owner of Mad Duck Brewing Co., said the newest restaurant at Maple and Copper avenues will open Monday, April 15.

This marks the fourth location for the brand that began as a neighborhood brewery at Herndon and Willow avenues in Clovis. Costa said when they first opened the “Baby Duck” in 2009, they hoped to have locations in nearly every corner of Fresno and Clovis.

“This got wildly out of control, this was all accidental, and we fell backwards into this, and we’ve been working our way through it,” Costa said. “I think when we started Baby Duck often what we say is ‘we were all a bunch of kids,’ you know. I think I was 28 and the other guys were mid-20s.”

Copper River Mad Duck Will Be Its Largest

Mad Duck celebrated 14 years in business last Thursday.

The Copper River spot is the restaurant’s first foray into northeast Fresno. It’s also the first location that the ownership group built from the ground up, allowing them to build how they needed.

For team members, it also means opportunities to promote and take management positions.

“This will be the first one we’ve gotten designed from the ground up with our own building, our own shape, we’re incredibly proud of what’s going on inside, and I think it’s going to be a really wonderful location for us,” Costa said.

The new location will also be their largest, allowing for more seating. A patio area will allow for outdoor seating and roll-up windows will bring in fresh air when Fresno weather is nice, Costa said.

“You’re going to be able to look at expanded beer offerings, the brewer’s really catching his wind right now, and his beer is better than ever, the chef is super excited,” Costa said.

California Law Limits How Much More Mad Duck Can Expand

The six partners behind Mad Duck started in 2009.

“Not a lot of people were looking to start restaurants in 2009, and so everybody went to great personal risk to sort of make this investment,” Costa said.

Their first expansion was to Campus Pointe, near Fresno State, followed by their third location at Herndon and Marks avenues. Starting with 11 people, they will have more than 200 people once the Copper River location opens.

But being a brewery, California law limits how much more Mad Duck can expand. What’s important to Costa is finding opportunities for workers looking to make careers with the brewery. In addition, the brewery has a location at Fresno Yosemite International in the works. Airport spokeswoman Vikkie Calderon said they are aiming for a fall 2025 opening.

“This is unfortunately probably very near the end of the road for our expansion simply because of regulation,” Costa said. “But that doesn’t mean we’re not going to continue to find avenues for our people to be successful and find their positions.”

The newest Mad Duck restaurant at Maple and Copper avenues will open Monday, April 15.

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Edward Smith,
Multimedia Journalist
Edward Smith began reporting for GV Wire in May 2023. His reporting career began at Fresno City College, graduating with an associate degree in journalism. After leaving school he spent the next six years with The Business Journal, doing research for the publication as well as covering the restaurant industry. Soon after, he took on real estate and agriculture beats, winning multiple awards at the local, state and national level. You can contact Edward at 559-440-8372 or at Edward.Smith@gvwire.com.

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