Yesterday, Mission Brewery owners Dan and Sarah Selis announced the launch of a stock-purchase campaign. Sale of stock will take place over a two-month window via online applications on the WeFunder site. With the exception of an ill-fated and illegal attempt by Kearny Mesa’s defunct Magnetic Brewing, this is the first time a San Diego-based brewery has explored a venture of this kind.
In the past, Mission Brewery was limited in the types of investors it could bring aboard by Securities and Exchange Commission regulations. Previously, investors needed to be accredited and possess a certain income and net worth, but Title III of the JOBS (Jumpstart Our Business Startups) Act, which went into effect May of last year, allows the Selises to entertain applications from the general public. The Selis’ investment goal is $1 million, and the minimum investment individuals may make is $200. Beyond the minimum, WeFunder calculates the amount each investor may invest based on their income and net worth.
“Investing in Mission Brewery doesn’t just help the brewery, but it gives San Diegans the chance to become a part of the local San Diego beer scene as more than just a consumer or homebrewer,” says Dan Selis. “Most beer lovers dream of opening a brewery. I was homebrewing for about 25 years before I started Mission Brewery. Now, people can have the chance to make becoming part of a brewery a reality and own a piece of Mission Brewery.”
Mission Brewery opened in 2007 as a resuscitation of a San Diego beer-making brand originally established in 1913. That operation closed in 1920 at the onset of the Prohibition Era. For a time, its beers were produced in the historic Mission Brewery Plaza in the Five Points area of San Diego. Manufacturing now takes place in another historically significant location, the old Wonder Bread factory just east of Petco Park in downtown’s East Village area. Mission’s production for 2017 is projected to reach roughly 18,000 barrels, and its beers are currently distributed in six states: California, Arizona, Colorado, Hawaii, North Carolina and Pennsylvania.
Since opening for business in 2007, Mission Brewery (1441 L Street, East Village) had never executed an official launch-event for one of its beers, until this week when it held a coming-out party for its latest India pale ale, Plunder IPA. Taster-glasses, plastic doubloons, finger-foods and branded party favors were everywhere, along with posters and other visual elements displaying the beer’s skull and stacked gold-coin logo. It was an effort both complete and entertaining, and it coincided with something else owner Dan Selis and company wanted to show off, The Cellar and Loft by Mission Brewery—a brand-new, 4,500-square-foot, two-story public area that’s ready to receive.
Mission Brewery’s headquarters is built within the historic red-brick building that once housed a Wonder Bread factory. Sited across the street from Petco Park’s Tailgate Lot, it’s in a prime location (unless the Chargers’ recently unveiled downtown stadium plan is executed, which would seem to make Mission’s future in its current facility a bit cloudier). And now it has even more to offer thanks to the new addition, which is accessible from 14th Street as well as a segue at the merchandise store on the southern end of the main tasting room.
The ground-level is equipped with a bar with a dozen taps (bringing the total tap-count at Mission to 66) dispensing various Mission beers, including Plunder, which came across to me as a modern IPA (not over-aggressive in its bitterness, with flavors and aromas of mango and peach) with old-school East-Coast appeal (touches of caramel and toasty malt in the finish). There are a few high-top tables and chairs near the bar, plus two raised round booths bathed in natural light from a pair of skylights on the second floor.
The top-story’s footprint matches the downstairs in area, minus the two circular cut-outs letting the sunshine filter from the skylights. Outfitted in diagonally affixed reclaimed-wood on one wall and historic red-brick on the other, with floor-to-ceiling glass on the west wall giving way to an unobstructed view of Petco Park, it is quite an event space, and can be rented out for private soirees of all kinds.
All I all, the new space is well thought-out and nicely executed. It’s good to see a company that’s been around awhile and quietly gone about its business make some waves. Next up, a portfolio-wide packaging re-brand that will clarify the brand and bring a lot more color into the mix. Look for new bottles to hit shelves over the course of the next few months.