In a county with over 200 breweries, a one-of-a-kind beer concept is rare. However, that is exactly what is planned for Vista in the form of a craft beverage collective that will house multiple breweries under one roof.
Called Co-Lab Vista, the collective will see three breweries, a winery, and an on-site food vendor share an indoor-outdoor tasting room where guests will have access to all of their wares. But it’s more than a sampling space. Brewing, winemaking, barrel aging and cooking will all take place in-house, with the tenants of the brewery sharing production equipment and cellar space.
The $ 5 million project is led by real estate developer Joe Deutsch and backed by a group of investors based in Orange County.
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After spending the past four years learning about the challenges brewery owners face in entering the industry and growing, Deutsch developed a model where small businesses could pool their resources, share their equipment and their expenses and present their products in a common place. In addition to cost savings, one of the primary goals of Co-Lab Vista, as with any hospitality business collective, is to attract consumers with the convenience of having multiple beverage manufacturers in one location.
“Customer experience is the real engine for us. Customers want choice and authentic experiences, ”says Deutsch. “At Co-Lab, the public can discuss products directly with producers, learn how they are made and watch the process in action. Here there will be an intimacy between the producer and the consumer that is not available in a non-production format.
Scheduled to debut in early November, Co-Lab Vista is located in a 12,500 square foot space towards the west end of a vast strip of commercial buildings on Industrial Court. Visible from State Route 78, this is a premier site that will be occupied by established operations, Breakwater Brewing and Laguna Beach Beer Co., as well as newcomers Barrel and Stave Brewing. The facility will serve a different purpose for each of these interests.
In the case of Breakwater Brewing, the 13-year-old award-winning Oceanside Brewery will add a second location with greater production capacity while hoping to increase brand awareness inland. Breakwater currently brews seven-barrel batches, but the 20-barrel fermenters it will have at Co-Lab will allow the company to triple production at a reasonable price.
“We’re a small, independent brewery without a lot of capital to work with, so combining the resources of several breweries and sharing the costs with them made Co-Lab attractive,” says Jason Ignaciak, owner of Breakwater. “We plan to brew more beer, distribute it to more bars and restaurants, and start canning as soon as possible. Our current setup doesn’t allow us to make beer cans, so this will be a big step for us. “
Co-Lab will also usher in a new era for Barrel and Stave. The business was born as a “Pour House” craft beer in Fullerton by Chris White, who is also the co-founder of Wild Barrel Brewing of San Marcos. By moving Barrel and Stave from bars (including a second Pour House, which opened in Old Town Vista in February) to beer-making, White enlists award-winning local brewer Chris Banker to run the brewery’s operations. .
Although its first location is in San Diego County, it will be Laguna Beach Beer’s fourth location overall, joining a trio of spots in Orange County. Rather than expanding its brewing business to Vista, the company will continue to brew from its production facility in Rancho Santa Margarita, while aging its beers in casks at Co-Lab and trying to reach new customers. from South.
“We have a strong and growing barrel library at Vista including a number of Imperial stouts in various spirits barrels, a few different lots of our English barley wine in Blanton, Bib and Tucker whiskey barrels at a extremely cool single barrel, and a wild beer program that sits in a fleet of French oak wine barrels, ”says Christian Emsiek, COO of Laguna Beach Beer.
The breweries will share the Co-Lab space with a wine start-up, Deutsch Cellars (operated by the aforementioned Deutsch’s son Joseph), and the Los Angeles-born mobile food vendor concept Baby’s Badass Burgers, which will operate a brick-and-mortar kitchen. Visitors to Co-Lab’s tasting room will be able to order its tenants’ drinks from an adjoining 100-foot bar divided into four sections, each sporting an aesthetic developed by the occupants.
The ground floor of the Co-Lab tasting room is 2,500 square feet and is completed by a 2,000 square foot mezzanine (which can be reserved for private parties), for a total capacity of 350 seats . -a square foot outdoor patio is underway, a “COVID lot” that combines a planned patio and parking space is being developed to accommodate up to 200 guests at a time in a best practice manner pandemic.
The only San Diego County project to date similar to Co-Lab is the 5-year-old Brewery Igniter facility in North Park. Built in a former men’s club on El Cajon Boulevard by local developer HG Fenton, the 6,000 square foot building is divided into three separate brewing facilities. Each brasserie rental room has its own customizable tasting room and public entrance, but there is no on-site food vendor or common public space, and parking is limited.
The North Park Brewery Igniter has been a take-off space for current tenant Pariah Brewing, as well as Eppig Brewing and JuneShine Hard Kombucha. These latter operations have evolved, while Pariah’s ownership recently made the decision to move operations to a larger facility in Baltimore and keep the Brewery Igniter suite (the only one of three currently occupied and operational) for small brewing. lots and a coastal bi-presence.
The Co-Lab team hopes that interconnected tenants locked in for the long term (including one with a dedicated dining option) in a much more spacious environment with multiple seating options will lead to a more cohesive and sustainable outcome than that of Brewery Igniter, who has struggled to maintain occupancy and has yet to sign the first tenant for their only Oceanside Brewery suite.
Another plus for the Co-Lab team and its tenants is the Vista City Government. Over a decade ago, when most city governments weighed the pros and cons of craft breweries – and it was still illegal to brew beer in some of these communities – the town of Vista saw the potential and seized it. Director of Economic Development Kevin Ham and his colleagues worked closely with their local breweries to understand the challenges they faced and help them solve them. The result has been a hand-in-hand approach to loosen outdated regulations and cultivate an environment in which brewing businesses and the city thrive in terms of the economy, job creation and tourism.
“I have developed dozens of projects in several states over the past 40+ years and have created developments in very user-friendly municipalities as well as utterly miserable environments,” says Deutsch. “No previous experience matches what we had with the city of Vista. They are accommodating and helpful.
The timing for Co-Lab looks particularly favorable with the growing popularity of collectives of all kinds, particularly in the hospitality industry where food halls, public markets and other shared dining venues are proving attractive to entrepreneurs and businesses alike. consumers.
“What better way to try multiple breweries and beers than having them all in one place?” Ignaciak said, citing several advantages. “There’s no need to drive around town, no need to pay multiple Ubers to get to different places. Between three breweries, a cellar and a restaurant, there should be something for everyone.
Brandon Hernández is the founder of San Diego Beer News (www.sandiegobeer.news) and is the author of several San Diego brewery guides. Follow him @sdbeernews. Email: email@example.com