Beer Maverick

How Many Breweries in San Diego? March 2018 Update

The overall number of open San Diego beer locations has stayed the same this month–despite a large number of cases of *re*openings under new names and/or new owners. #craftbeer #sandiego #sdbeer

Another odd month, it seems. The overall number of open locations has stayed the same–despite a large number of cases of *re*openings under new names and/or new owners. I’m going to write about that phenomenon in a separate post so, for now, just the facts.

Here is THE LIST for March, 2018.

Finest Made Ales in Santee is officially gone. I really liked that place and that brand, so my disappointment at a brewery closing is even greater in this case. Plus it shows the limits of my prognosticatory powers: just a few months ago I was advocating that Finest Made could become a national brand.  Their location and equipment was purchased by Council Brewing and will become both a second brewing location for them and a second tasting room. I hope Council will keep a couple of Finest Made beers (the way Savagewood kept a couple of Sullivan Bros.’s beers); if so, I vote for the Blood Orange IPA and the award-winning Imperial Red.

Absolution by the Sea, a Torrance, CA, brewery that took over the old La Jolla Brewing location in January, has started brewing in La Jolla so it now switches categories from a non-San Diego craft tasting room to a San Diego craft brewery. It is a hybrid case that probably deserves its own category in my list since Absolution by the Sea is also functionally a tasting room for their Torrance-produced beers. So far I only see one La Jolla-produced beer on the menu (which includes 18 Absolution beers in total, plus two house non-alcohol sodas and two non-Absolution beers), but I’m sure more will be coming very soon.

Beach Grease, formerly contract-brewed, has purchased the former SpecHops brewery and tasting room in Vista. It is not clear to me if they are already brewing there, but their website says they are open in that location as a tasting room, at least. I moved them from the contract-brewed section to the craft brewery with tasting room section.

Oceanside Ale Works, which closed in January, was sold to new owners and is already operating again in the same location. The original plan, for one of the original owners to reopen under a new name, didn’t work. The former owner may be involved in the “new” venture in some way. Their website seems not to have been updated to reflect the changes; their Facebook page has more recent info.

Both Burning Beard and Helix Brewing have announced expansion projects into neighboring buildings–not new locations, really, but a sign of growth and success. Helix’s expansion is mostly for barrel-aging sours; Burning’s is for producing wild ales.

Acoustic Ales is being contract brewed by soon-to-open-to-the-public Latchkey Brewing while the North County Acoustic space is being prepped.

I know of 26 breweries in planning and 11 satellite tasting rooms in planning (one non-craft). If they all open and nothing else closes, San Diego will have 236 beer locations.