One company closing, one changing hands, another moving forward.
The Brewers Association's beer sales and production numbers for 2016 reflected adjustments to the industry due to massive corporations buying very large craft breweries, but most of the change happens on a smaller, microbrewery level. Examples in the past year include the closing of On the Tracks Brewery, plus the selling of Quantum Brewing and Stumblefoot Brewing Co. — not to big beer, but to entrepreneurs looking to enter the industry.
There are more changes pending locally, as we enter the second quarter of the year.
Escondido's Offbeat Brewing Company announced via Facebook on March 16 that St. Patrick's Day was to be its last in business.
Husband and wife owners Tom and Sarah Garcia wrote in part: "Over the past 6 years we have had the privilege of being a part of the North San Diego County craft beer community… Offbeat has been an incredible endeavor for us, but after much deliberation we have decided that it is time for us to close the doors… Friday, March 17th will be our last day open to the public."
Offbeat began serving beer in 2012, located within walking distance of Stone Brewing's World Bistro & Gardens.
Brewery for sale
Poway's Lightning Brewery was put on sale in December by owner and brewer Jim Crute for an undisclosed price. Crute attributes the need to sell to a decision to sign on with third-party distributors. He says working with two different distributors depleted Lightning's cash reserves, and saw sales cut in half.
He adds that, had he continued to self-distribute beer, he would not be selling. "We could have self-distributed as much beer as we [had been] and we could have kept it that way." In February, Crute was entertaining deals that would see him stay on as brewer and minority shareholder under the Lightning brand, or sell the brewhouse outright.
Brewhouse for sale
Acoustic Ales Brewing Experiment is also for sale — at least its brewhouse is. Revealing plans to upgrade to a larger location, the Mission Hills-adjacent brewery posted a "Turn key brewery for sale" notice to business-for-sale website BizQuest.com.
"Whether you are an out of state brewery looking to have a remote facility in San Diego," the ad reads, "or you are a startup in the SoCal region looking to get kick started… this could be your ideal location." A $275K asking price includes the brewery's permits, brewing equipment of a 15 barrel steam brew system with 180 barrels fermentation capacity, and "favorable lease terms" for the equipment to remain in the building.
Acoustic Ales opened in 2013 in a suite at the original Mission Brewery building (1915-1918), taking over that space from Coronado Brewing Company. A rep from Acoustic notes, "We have outgrown our current space, not unlike Coronado Brewing did at the same location when we took it over from them, and are currently looking to expand into a much bigger location which is yet TBD."