Beer Maverick

How Many Breweries in San Diego? November 2017 Update

November 2017 San Diego beer update: 10 new breweries and tasting rooms since mid-Sept brings the total to 198, an increase of 25 in the last 7 months, and nearly 50 in the last year. #craftbeer #sdcraftbeer #SanDiego

It has been a busy six weeks in the San Diego brewing scene! By my count ten new breweries and tasting rooms opened, and two breweries closed. San Diego now has:

  • 150 craft breweries
  • 6 non-craft breweries
  • 28 satellite tasting rooms

That’s 178 San Diego craft breweries and tasting rooms, plus 6 non-craft breweries for a subtotal of 184 brewery locations. In addition, there are 14 non-San Diego craft tasting rooms/brewpubs (BJs, Oggi’s, Golden State OB). That makes a grand total of 198 craft and non-craft breweries, brewpubs and tasting rooms currently operational in San Diego County (8 more than mid-September). That’s an increase of 24 in the last seven months! A further 27 venues are in planning.  (I dropped six tasting rooms from my “in planning” list because they were proposed to open in 2023, which is too far in the future to be credible.)

Follow this link for the SD BEER LIST.

Since my last monthly update, 11 San Diego breweries won 14 medals at the 2017 Great American Beer Festival. That’s a great result. Congratulations to all the winners. And congratulations to all of us San Diego craft beer drinkers for getting to drink such great beer! (The count is 15 if you include Mother Earth’s medal, but that beer was brewed at their Idaho facility.)

One of those GABF winners isn’t really even “open” yet: SouthNorte Beer Co. won a bronze medal in Specialty Beer for their Agavamente. SouthNorte is currently guest brewing at Coronado Brewing Company, and apparently plans to open their own facility in the future.

Partly because of this unusual situation with SouthNorte, this month I’ve created a new subcategory in my list: Contract or guest brewed beers. This subcategory includes Oeuvre Artisan Ales (guest brewed at Intergalactic) and High Point brand beers (contract brewed by Mission Brewery exclusively for the Bluewater Grill chain including a new Carlsbad location). I struggled to categorize Bluewater (brewery? brewpub? tasting room?) and this new category resolves some of my difficulty on that score. However, things remain fuzzy: All but one Oggi’s location now has all their beers contract brewed by Left Coast in San Clemente: for now, I’ve left those Oggi’s in the “Non-San Diego Craft Tasting Room” category, but it is admittedly not a good fit. BJ’s is the other member of that category: they are craft, they operate their own breweries, but they don’t brew in San Diego.

Speaking of Coronado Brewing Company, their recently acquired sub-brand (like how Green Flash took over Alpine a while ago), Monkey Paw Brewing, was also a GABF winner: ESSA was a silver medalist in the English Style Summer Ale class. Coronado is a double winner by association, I guess you could say.

This was an active month of openings, closings and mergers.

  1. Deft Brewing opened in Bay Park. 
  2. Northern Pine opened their doors in Oceanside.
  3. Wild Barrel Brewing opened in San Marcos.
  4. The new Savagewood Brewing bought O’Sullivan Bros. Brewing in Scripps Ranch; they are operating while renovating and rebranding. (So that’s an “in planning” brewery converted to operational in my list, and a brewery removed from the operational list.)
  5. Horus Aged Ales is operating but does not yet have a tasting room.
  6. Thorn Brewing’s Barrio Logan location has been brewing for a while but the tasting room there just opened. (That makes a total of five San Diego breweries currently, with the addition of Horus and subtraction of Thorn Barrio Logan, that do not have tasting rooms.)
  7. Kensington Brewing opened a tasting room in Kensington (they still brew in Grantville, so this rather small operation has two entries on the list).
  8. Rough Draft Brewing opened a satellite tasting room in the graduate student housing at UCSD. I have not yet had a chance to go over there and confirm that it is open to the general public.
  9. Second Chance Beer Co. (double GABF winner!) has started pouring beer at their new North Park tasting room.
  10. Ebullition Brewing of Vista had their grand opening.
  11. Wiseguy Brewing closed after being open for only about five months in the Carlsbad Brewery Ignitor (next to Rouleur Brewing).

If you are curious about the differences between my list and the West Coaster Magazine brewery list, here they are (as of the date of publication of this post): WC has SouthNorte sharing an entry with Coronado Brewing’s Bay Park facility; WC does not have Oeuvre Artisan Ales on their list; WC has a second Ballast Point location in Miramar (“Trade Street”: to me, it is just an extension of the one facility); WC hasn’t yet taken Wiseguy off the list; WC’s list doesn’t yet mention the Rough Draft satellite at UCSD; WC doesn’t yet list the Second Chance North Park location as open; and WC still has the Little Miss Ocean Beach project listed as in planning, though as WC reported elsewhere, that project is dead. WC still has O’Sullivan’s listed as open, and Savagewood doesn’t yet appear in the list. By coincidence, those additions and subtractions exactly cancel out, so West Coaster’s 156 operating breweries is the same number as I have this month, though we categorize things differently. (WC is where I get much of my information; they just haven’t updated their brewery list in about a month so it hasn’t yet caught up to their reporting.)

On the eve of the San Diego Brewers Guild’s annual San Diego Beer Week Guild Fest that starts on Friday, November 4 (and, oh, boy, am I excited!), it is worth pausing to note that 27 of San Diego’s 156 breweries (17.3%, or more than 1 in 6) are not SDBG members.

For the record, I have now completed 153 reviews: two locations have since closed, one was a BJs, one was an Oggi’s, one was a cidery. So 148 of those reviews count toward completing the 184 locations currently on my list. But 6 of those do not have tasting rooms and 2 are brewing very inconsistently. So I have about 30 places left to hit–plus any news ones that open before I finish my quest. The driving distance and opening hours of the locations on my “to do” list are conspiring to make it very difficult for me to get to the remaining places, which is why I haven’t been posting many new reviews lately.