After years of hunting, Ballast Point has sealed the deal on a new production facility at 9045 Carroll Way in Miramar.
At nearly 107,000 sq. ft., there’s enough space for a 15,000 sq. ft. kitchen, restaurant, tasting room and retail area, plus a 150-BBL, five-vessel copper brewhouse from Germany, a bottling and canning line that will both run at ~500 units/minute, and a cold room nearly the same size as the company’s Scripps Ranch brewery — which will remain open and utilized mainly for specialty beers.
When the Miramar brewhouse is up-and-running (estimated July 2014), the four 450-BBL fermentors will bring the company’s production pace to 150,000 BBL/year, including 100,000 at Scripps. After a few batches, the first of which will be Sculpin, 750-BBL fermentors will be ordered.
The company has no plans to produce spirits at this location, although the program will be expanded at Scripps.
This brewery will be the eighth in the Miramar area, close to Saint Archer, Hess, White Labs, AleSmith, Rough Draft, 2Kids, and Intergalactic.
The Great American Beer Festival starts today in Denver.
Last year, San Diego County breweries won 15 medals (7 gold, 2 silver and 6 bronze) at the competition portion of the event. This year the ceremony will take place on Saturday, October 12 at 9:30 a.m. SD time; it will be broadcast live on the internet at this link.
Two new beer styles have been added this year: Adambier and Grodzisz, while two award categories have also been added: Very Small Brewing Company of the Year (less than 1,000 barrels produced in 2012), and Mid-Size Brewpub of the Year. These awards are determined by points accrued in competition, and each brewery can enter up to 10 beers. Good luck to our local brewers!
Here’s what San Diego breweries will be pouring during the festival sessions:
Beau Schmitt is co-founder of The Brew Project, a local bar that serves only San Diego beers.
Can you tell us about the event you’re throwing this weekend?
This Sunday from 1 – 5 p.m. we’re hosting a breast cancer benefit event for Beer 4 Boobs. Tickets are just $10 (or $15 at the door) for two local beers, a pink cup to drink them in, and a raffle ticket. (Disclosure: West Coaster is the event’s sponsor.)
What beers will you have for the “tap takeover”?
From AleSmith we’ll have Evil Dead Red (Special American Amber), Lil Devil (Belgian Ale), IPA, Nut Brown and ESB; from Rip Current: Rail Grab German Rye, Marine Layer Hefeweizen, Bronzer Pale Ale, Hazardous Hazelnut Porter and Impact Zone NZ-hopped IPA; from Societe: Harlot (Belgian Pale Ale), Debutante (Belgian Pale Ale), Apprentice (IPA), Publican (American Pale Ale) and Pugilist (Dry Stout).
How about beers from the rest of San Diego?
We’ll have Monkey Paw’s Midsummers Night Cream Ale, Thorn Street’s Chilecabra Chile Pale Ale, Aztec’s Agave Wheat Ale, Hess’ Claritas Kölsch, Acoustic Ales’ Willow Wolves IPA, Benchmark’s IPA, Latitude 33′s Biere De Mars, Culture’s Hefeweizen, BNS’ Saison, Belching Beaver’s Peanut Butter Porter, Helms’ Batten Down Brown Ale, Modern Times’ Fortunate Islands and Prohibition’s Biscuit Amber, ChuckAlek’s Altbier and Coronado’s Hibiscus Pink IPA.
You’ll also have raffle items?
Yes, everyone that comes will have a chance to win brewery baskets that were donated from White Labs, The Brew Project, New English Brewing Company, Lightning Brewery, Green Flash Brewing Company, Ballast Point Brewing Company, Pizza Port Brewing Company, Belching Beaver Brewery, Helms Brewing Company, Hess Brewing, Hillcrest Brewing Company, BNS Brewing & Distilling Company, Rip Current Brewing Company, Societe Brewing Company, AleSmith Brewing Company, Monkey Paw Brewery, Coronado Brewing Company, Aztec Brewing Company, Benchmark Brewing Company, Iron Fist Brewing Company, Latitude 33 Brewing Company Chuckalek Independent Brewers, Acoustic Ales Brewing Experiment, Mother Earth Brewing Company, Modern Times Brewing Company, Prohibition Brewing Company, Stumblefoot Brewing Company, Oceanside Ale Works and Indian Joe Brewery.
What other perks are there?
You’ll also have a chance to win a water jet pack package, windsurfing lessons, an indoor skydiving package, hotel accommodation and UBER credit. Food trucks will also be there, plus live music.
The new Escondido brewpub, which was just 56% funded with less than a day to go on their successful Kickstarter campaign last September, will be hosting soft opening celebrations at their 155 E. Grand Avenue location this Thursday at 5 p.m.
The grand opening will take place sometime in October.
Check out their website for a well-produced video introducing owner Aaron Calles and his community-first philosophy.
Andrew Keatts is a reporter for Voice of San Diego.
What do you feel were some key take-away points from yesterday’s economic summit?
Everyone made important points about making San Diego beer an inextricable part of the city’s identity. Imploring event planners behind things like the Rock and Roll Marathon or a small community festival that it’s to their benefit to turn down a potentially more lucrative sponsorship from Anheuser Busch, because people will have a more memorable time and would be likely to return if they’re drinking good beer and having a good time. That’s important, and true, but it’s also something that I think most brewery owners and craft beer fans have also heard and thought many times over.
The more relevant takeaway, in my opinion, was who was hearing the pitch this time. The summit attendees were really the people who, like it or hate it, make all the decisions in this town. Former mayor and now CEO of the regional Chamber of Commerce, Congressional candidate Carl DeMaio, Councilman Mark Kersey, tourism authority CEO Joe Terzi, councilmembers from Escondido and National City, folks from the regional Economic Development Council. So I think the fact that the conversation is now happening in front of the people who actually have the power to make the big change happen was probably the most important thing I saw yesterday. The summit still dealt with a lot of broad ideas and goals, and just making a basic sale of the concept, rather than saying “here is a piece of policy that we could implement and help the industry, you powerful people should all go support it.” But, getting the big idea in front of people outside the beer world is a big change (even if Sanders was somewhat involved with beer as mayor, and Mayor Bob Filner had put together a beer task force).
What current land use issues are breweries facing?
It seems to me the land use issues facing breweries are the same ones facing the city as a whole. One big one, and Jacob McKean at Modern Times has really been beating this drum, is that there just aren’t many acceptable industrial properties within the central core area of the city of San Diego. That’s the type of thing that isn’t solved simply, but changes to zoning could play a role, as could just making the city’s development services department more efficient. Builders constantly complain about how time consuming and expensive it is to get approval to build anything. Assuming you believe all the anecdotes out there are true—and I’ve tried to establish it with data, which is a whole other nightmare—that’s one thing the city could fix and see improved conditions for all sorts of things, including the brewing industry.
Similarly, the conditional use permit process is a nightmare by all accounts. That type of permit basically lets business open in an area where they otherwise wouldn’t be able to, but there’s a public process that lets the community impose some conditions on the operation. It makes sense to let the community have a say in what’s going on in their neighborhood, but businesses avoid the prospect at all costs because it’s so uncertain and can really delay their plans. Ballast Point ended up opening a restaurant in Little Italy rather than just a tasting room because it allowed them to avoid the process. Improving that process to bring a bit more certainty to the equation, while still letting the community play a role, would really help. This one is especially important now, as interest in the beer world grows and new converts might be more interested in a brewery near where they work and live, rather than out in the industrial parks of Mira Mesa where many breweries I’ve always gone to have always been. But, again, improving this wouldn’t just help breweries. It’s really a broad land use issue that would help breweries, and all kinds of other things also.
Where does San Diego rank in terms of population per brewery?
So the Brewers Association releases a yearly list ranking all the states in how many people there are for every brewery. It’s sort of useful, but it also skews things in favor of places like Montana and Alaska and Wyoming, that just have very small populations. I took the list and just did a really simple calculation of San Diego’s breweries—using West Coaster’s ongoing count, obviously—and divided it by the 2010 census count for San Diego County. San Diego County comes in ninth if you just plug it into the state list, with one brewery for every 42,933 people. In fairness, if I’m pointing out that the list skews in favor of places with a low population, I should also add that it’s not really a fair comparison to put San Diego County, which is a predominantly developed area with a huge city in it, and compare it to entire states that have massive, unpopulated areas. Obviously if I added Imperial County to San Diego and redid the ranking, we’d come out looking worse. But I really just wanted to put in context how many breweries are here, and get a rough sense of what’s going on elsewhere, and I think it basically confirmed what I imagine most of your readers already knew: there are a lot of breweries in San Diego, but there’s also some cool stuff happening in Oregon, Washington, Colorado, Vermont, etc.
Why did Voice of San Diego start writing about beer?
I write about land use, development, politics, all the things that work together to make the city the way it is for the people who live here. One of my pitches when I wanted to start writing about beer was that all the breweries and bars and bottle shops and festivals and different things that have made craft beer into a community, basically, are part of that basic definition of my beat. I’m supposed to write about why our city is the way it is, and craft beer is part of that conversation now. It just is.
The other thing is, people really like and react to craft beer right now. It’s on people’s radar. Part of my challenge is to make some relatively staid concepts interesting and accessible, so people want to read about it and so they walk away feeling like they got something out of the 5 or 10 minutes they spend reading a story. Craft beer in some ways is just a way for me to frame things that are happening in the city in a way that makes those things interesting. It would otherwise be really tough to imagine anyone reading about conditional use permits. But if I can say, “Look, this vague part of city planning is having an effect on Ballast Point’s new location,” it’s a different story.
How did you get into beer?
When I was in college I worked at one of the long-standing brewpubs in Baltimore, called the Wharf Rat, which brewed its own line, Oliver Ales. That was basically the start of it, and it especially helped me see just how many different styles our brewer was turning out, and how much he was experimenting with different things. From there, it progressively grew from a mild interest into a basically an obsession. Maybe hobby is a healthier word.