Dustin Hauck knew he wanted to go into business for himself, and in November 2011, after many years spent working on hospitality projects, he did just that. The timing couldn’t have been worse. The economy was in the worst possible place, but he took on lots of small projects and was able to hold on until there was more business out there to be had. By then, a trend was in motion that would allow him to work with business owners in an industry he had great interest — craft brewing.
“When I started working on our brewery Dustin, he had five or so clients,” said Curtis Chism, owner of Council Brewing Company in Kearny Mesa. “By the time the project was finished, he was working with a list of 25 breweries.” Having marveled at this list of clients firsthand, I have come to regard Hauck as being to brewery architecture what Premier Stainless Systems is to brewing systems; a guy so well-regarded for what he brings to the table that almost everybody opening a brewery utilizes his skills.
An avid homebrewer, brewery tourist, and all-around beer fan, Hauck gained entrée to the industry via Jim and Matt Akin, folks he knew through local homebrew club QUAFF (Quality Ale and Fermentation Fraternity). The father-and-son duo was working on opening Benchmark Brewing Company in Grantville, and brought on Hauck to help them via his experience with the City’s Building Department, codes, permits, and the like. It all snowballed from there and, soon, he was helping the likes of Modern Times Beer, Dos Desperados Brewery, Plan 9 Alehouse; upcoming interests including Bitter Brothers Brewing Company, O’Sullivan Bros. Brewing Company, and Fall Brewing Company; and beer-centric spots such as Sublime Ale House, Sublime Tavern, and Elbowroom Bar & Grill.
So, what makes Hauck so popular? Having worked on so many hospitality venues in California, he has amassed an encyclopedic knowledge of codes; what can and can’t be done. This helps his clients to avoid making costly mistakes requiring expensive and time-consuming reworking. He’s also helpful when it comes to site selection, checking to make sure natural gas, power, water, drainage, and fire extinguishing needs are met, and sufficient space to meet the capacity needs to keep on pace with business plans and remain compliant with ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) regulations. Considering a toilet being off by half-an-inch requires correction.
“I’m into beer and love the industry. I love seeing the breweries’ success and drinking their product.” said Hauck. But, unfortunately, that isn’t always how things play out. “I’m disheartened when I’m part of a project where things don’t work out. I have a vested interest in their project, but it’s not my place to talk to them about how to run their business…just to get them permitted and open. It’s their job to run it.”
When asked about a trend I hope will catch on — air-conditioning in tasting rooms — Hauck told me not to hold my breath. “Most industrial parks don’t have AC since they’re primarily used for manufacturing and there’s no requirement,” said Hauck. “Also, the open framework of most facilities wastes the air because they’re so big and wide open. Most breweries just need to get open to start making profit, and expensive AC isn’t part of that equation.”
Hauck admits to being awed over how many brewing companies are looking to come on line throughout the county. The big trend he’s taken notice of is satellite tasting rooms (he’s currently working on Rip Current Brewing Company’s in North Park). Even with all the players in the suds game, he said there’s still room for growth — at the top. “There’s always a good opportunity for breweries with good product, but owners must understand the competition in San Diego and perform at a good level.”