1485 Hollow Glen Road, Julian
When news broke in early 2012 of two families with deep local brewing ties teaming up to bring Julian its first brewpub, the townspeople — and most of the beer fans in San Diego County —were understandably elated. After all, it was the Marsaglias and Nickels going in on the project; the former represented by Vince and Gina Marsaglia, the brother-and-sister duo behind the Pizza Port empire, and the latter, Tom and Lindsey Nickel, husband-and-wife publicans (O’Brien’s Pub, West Coast Barbecue & Brews). Throw in the fact Tom, who had brewed for Pizza Port Carlsbad, earned World Beer Cup gold while at Oggi’s, and was named Small Brewing Company Brewmaster of the Year at the World Beer Cup, would be doing the brewing, and the excitement was warranted.
The Bailey Wood-Pit BBQ (2307 Main Street, Julian) opened to great fanfare, with regulars of both families’ businesses making the drive to the mountains to show their support, and check out the beer and ‘cue. Both were good, but sadly, there was more going on beneath the surface and, less than a year after pooling their energies to open The Bailey and get the attached Julian Brewing Company open, the Marsaglias and Nickels dissolved their partnership. In doing so, the Marsaglias bought out the Nickels, retaining full control of the business.
The Nickels, Julian residents, still wanted to chase their dream of producing beer in the popular getaway town. So, last year, they opened Nickel Beer Co., a small business operating out of Julian’s old jailhouse. But before they settled on their historic digs, they twice discussed and came very close to purchasing Bailey’s from the Marsaglias. Both times, papers were drawn up, but the deal never came to pass.
Nickel Beer has been successful out of the gate, meeting goals that are modest by design. Meanwhile, The Bailey has, over time, reduced its days and hours of operation to the point where it is now only open Friday through Sunday. And earlier this month, a listing for the property went up on the MLS.
When asked why the business is for sale, Vince, who had been primarily responsible for managing the business, cited having too much on his plate. A father of five, he has involvement in a chain of five Southern California brewpubs plus a pair of production operations in Port Brewing Company and The Lost Abbey in San Marcos. All of the businesses are growing, especially the canning operation installed at Pizza Port’s Bressi Ranch facility in Carlsbad, which is struggling to keep up with mounting demand. Something had to give.
In putting The Bailey and Julian Brewing on the market, Marsaglia feels he is presenting a tremendous opportunity to someone looking to get into the restaurant and brewing business. A popular spot for food, drinks, and music located on Julian’s main drag, it certainly does have its share of positives.