Multiple sources indicate that the Sorrento Valley facility secured for installation of the Fightertown Brewing concept is back on the market. This would be the latest indication that this business—an offshoot from the owners of La Jolla Brewing Company—is either struggling to get going or dead in the water altogether.
I first reported on Fightertown last June after attaining investor-related materials and contacting ownership for additional information. The goal was to convert a 41,900-square-foot industrial structure located at 5995 Pacific Center Boulevard into a brewing facility that, in addition to manufacturing beers for La Jolla Brewing, would be utilized for contract-brewing. Prospective contract clientele would consist of local breweries lacking capacity to meet demand or expand, or larger out-of-town brewing companies looking to gain entrance into the San Diego market. In addition to the brewhouse and cellar, the facility was to include a tasting-room serving beers from La Jolla Brewing as well as Fightertown’s contract clients.
Over the past several months, numerous brewery owners have cited attempts to enter into contracts with Fightertown as well as deal-breaking circumstances that incited them to pull out and pursue other production-increasing avenues. During that span, I have attempted to contact members of Fightertown’s ownership, but no inquiries have been returned, another potential indication that Fightertown has attained never-was status.
A quartet that seems well-fitted for erecting and operating a successful brewery is looking to do just that in Barrio Logan. Currently in planning, that business will go by the name Alta Brewing Company and be located in the Bread and Salt building on Julian Avenue just east of the Interstate 5 freeway. That venue is being converted into an art-centric hub for the fast-gentrifying neighborhood. Three of the aforementioned founders will be putting their skills to use on this project—John Bull, owner of general contractor Blueprint Contracting, Josh Gliko of structural engineering firm Shop Engineering, and Branded Woodworks co-owner and operator Mike Franck. But who will do the brewing? Answer: Brett Stampf.
Stampf started his brewing career 20 years ago and has the likes of Stone Brewing, Dogfish Head Craft Brewery and Green Flash Brewing Company on his résumé, as well as a stint as the opening head-brewer for La Jolla Brewing Company. Since departing the latter, Stampf has focused his attention on the Alta project. As such, the game-plan for that brewery, which aims to be open by spring of 2017, is more developed than most in-progress brewing interests.
Stampf expects to brew five core-beers capable of satisfying a wide-ranging array of palates—a golden ale brewed with English yeast, a dry-hopped brown ale, San Diego-style pale ale with “old-school” hops, an India pale ale and a dry Irish-style stout. Armed with a five-barrel system, the goal will not be to flood the market with these beers via distribution, but rather supply the on-site tasting room while ramping up to service future satellite, sampling-only venues. Stampf estimates he can keep up to two such spots in beer with his system, and his team has identified North Park and Chula Vista as particularly attractive communities.
Originally, the founders considered pursuing the traditional craft-brewery model—a 15-barrel brewhouse with 30- and 60-barrel fermenters and distribution as a primary revenue-source. In the end, following the footsteps of Stampf’s previous employers (including La Jolla Brewing, which is attempting to graduate to greater distribution) wasn’t what they wanted. So they are opting to stay ultra-local. The financial risk is lower, as is the stress-level for Stampf.