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Twisted Manzanita shutting down brewing operations

Mar 2

twistedmanzanitaEarlier this week, news broke that Twisted Manzanita Ales and Spirits (10151 Prospect Avenue, Santee) had shuttered its satellite tasting room in Pacific Beach. Today, the company’s employees were notified that the business is actually folding its brewing operations entirely. Twisted Manzanita’s spirit production will continue, but Friday will be the last day for production at what was the incorporated East County’s first and largest brewery. The last day for the tasting room will be Sunday.

Established as Manzanita Brewing Company in 2010, the interest originally opened in a combination brewery-tasting room in a business suite at 9962 Mission Gorge Road. After two years of solid growth, Manzanita took over a much-larger, 12,000 square-foot facility on the same block, where it was able to increase its production significantly while spreading its beers to numerous new states and territories. Its original facility was turn-keyed to Rey Knight where he installed Butcher’s Brewing.

In 2012, Manzanita won a bronze medal in the experimental beer category at the World Beer Cup for Where There’s Smoke…, a smoked rye ale with chile peppers. In 2013, original brewmaster Garry Pittman left the business and the brewing industry altogether. In 2014, owner Jeff Trevaskis launched a distillery side of operations and renamed the company Twisted Manzanita Ales & Spirits. In 2015, Twisted Manzanita partnered with Fat Cat Beer Co., forming a parent-company that aimed to provide strength in numbers. That interest intended to take on additional brands, though that never came to pass. The company’s most recent head brewer, Daniel Cady, left the company a few weeks ago to begin work at Mikkeller Brewing San Diego. Twisted Manzanita also signed a number of contract-brewing deals to help boost production for such brands as URBN St. Brewing Co., Thorn St. Brewery and Pacific Islander Beer Co. 

Twisted Manzanita Ales is survived in the City of Santee by Butcher’s, Pacific Islander and BNS Brewing and Distilling Co., operations it most certainly helped pave the way for in East County.

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17 Responses to “Twisted Manzanita shutting down brewing operations”

  1. […] Twisted Manzanita Ales has closed down after five years.  Twisted Manzanita Spirits will still be functioning.  More about this on the West Coaster. […]

  2. […] timing couldn’t be better for East County beer drinkers. West Coaster reports that Santee’s Twisted Manzanita shut down beer production only one month after El Cajon’s URBN St. did the same. Meanwhile, the BNS tasting room in […]

  3. Johnny L

    Compared to some of the sold out beer companies that most of these bloggers love, manzanita had a great brown in Gillespie, a tasty double IPA in Chaotic, and the best pumpkin ale in town with Witches Hair. True beer drinkers understand. The rest are looking for the next ginger infused, habiscus, lemon zest, saison that makes us all sick. CHEERS and best wishes Manazanita Fam.

  4. Justin

    So much negativity! Fickle grousing is so trendy and shallow. Manzanita broke ground, built relationships, paved the way for other East County Brewers and was a constant, generous and willing supporter of many local charities and municipal events. No, their beers weren’t the schmaltzy highfalutin’ palate-molesting ingredient freakshows that the noisy minority seeks out, they were good sippin’, and some, like Gillespie and Rustic, were downright delicious. I suspect the shuttering of their brewing operations says a lot more about the cost of doing business in SoCal than whether their beers were snazzy enough for nearest hipster.

    It will be grandly unfortunate not to have this place available for the occasional growler fill, and if you don’t like easy drinking craft beers that don’t make a point of insulting your taste buds at the same time, maybe it’s time you started drinking wine.


  5. BigMik

    Personally I loved their beers. Their Gillespie Brown was, and still is, my favorite brown in San Diego. On top of that the staff at the tasting room was always wonderful and became good friends. All in all this is a really sad day in my beer world. I’ll miss Manzanita greatly.

  6. Thaddeus

    Their beer was very mediocre and trading room overpriced and lame. I wish this blog actually gave honest reviews of San Diego breweries. You might want to start with barn/poor house and find out why their beer is so gawdawful.

    • touche

      YES THANK YOU THEY ARE THE ABSOLUTE WORST. and related. i would love to see an article connecting the dots between them and the owners past and everything shitty he has done. and do some reviews of their beers

  7. Tony Diaz

    When I went there, I didn’t think their beers were that bad. In fact, I really liked a few. I can’t determined if they were consistent in their brew but that could have hurt them as well as location. I never went to their tasting room on what could be a peak day which could have been sign of things to come but I believe that there are worse breweries in SD.

  8. evilc

    Their beers were terrible, sorry not sorry. Glorified shitty home brew that should NEVER have made it this far. Guess there is some power to “east county loyalty” because I always wondered how they were still in business. Nice guys but they did not have the beer to compete in San Diego.

  9. joe influeneza

    It was a really shitty beer company to begin with, really it was. the PB place was as lame as an office on monday morning, the 1st of the month. nothing cool and worst yet, partnering with what is perhaps the WORST BEER COMPANY ever in existence, FAT CAT, says it all. really crappy beer doomed to fail riding on the coattails of a trend that has revitalized the bar, brew scene of SD. these places don’t and didnt belong and never will. thank god, we can make room for something much better and brighter. your un-admiring fan, Joe influeneza.

    • Bruce Taub

      Dear Joe, I am the owner and Chief of Whatever It Takes of The Fat Cat Beer Company. I am responding to your defamatory comments about my company. I regret that you haven’t tried any of our San Diego brewed beers; if you had, I am confident you would stop these hateful posts. I am happy to meet you and buy you one. We can even blind taste against some of your favorite session beers and see how we stand. Tell me where and when and I will show up. We are a community oriented company that strives to provide a tasty beer drinking experience without blowing your taste buds or inebriating you on the 1st pint. We pride ourselves on the community projects we do and with the amazing partners we have in doing them. The truth is we have a loyal fan base here in SD (close to 18k FB likes in SD alone) and we appreciate them very much. Regarding TM, not sure how you can criticize their beer as they clearly made some terrific beer, some of which was made for us. Query, do you have any idea how capital intensive it is to operate a brewery and how difficult it is to compete in today’s marketplace? To TM’s credit, they reached out to us and others so that we could create a win/win scenario for all concerned. It worked for a while but in the end their circumstances proved too much to turn the tide for TM so now guys like you can take uncalled for pot shots at them and us. Me? I regret that they had to let so many hard working folks go in this extremely difficult process, people who worked there for years and who have families in some cases. I also regret that we were not able to see our merger through but I assure you, had nothing to do with our beer. Their closing impacts us enormously; it is a good thing we have other plans in the works and plenty of fresh, great San Diego local, sessionable beer in stock. Looking forward to meeting you Joe or whatever your name is. Cheers! Bruce Taub, Chief of Whatever It Takes, The Fat Cat Beer Company, LLC.

      • Beavis


        Manzanita’so beer tasted like what I imagine eating a horse’s asshole would taste.

        I’d rather drink piss from a cat that ate asparagus.

  10. Renea

    Manzanita was never the same once Garry left. Make you wonder why Garry really left. He was the face of Manzanita. Glad to see his brother Jake is still going strong!

    • Joel Pitman

      My brother was the real deal behind brew and the whole brewery changed when he left he still brews beer at home. I feel bad for the investors whom put the money up to get the brewery up and running just to lose it all.

  11. Renea

    They were never the same after Garry left. Leaves you to wonder… Why did Garry actually leave?

    • Joel Pitman

      Conflict of interest

  12. Randy R

    This is truly IFC. I love their beers and thought I drank enough, but I guess not.

    I’m sorry, a true favorite. I’m interested in follow up Brandon. Like what will happen to the facility, etc.