Little Miss Brewing opened a satellite tasting room in Normal Heights in June. While the brewery makes beer in Miramar, its business model has always been to open tasting rooms in more populous urban neighborhoods. Which makes sense, because selling beer by the glass or growler is far more profitable, per ounce, than distributing kegs, cans, or bottles.
7949 Stromesa Court, Miramar
That's why most breweries look for ways to attract customers to their tasting rooms, often through drink specials or events including trivia nights, yoga classes, live music, or even stand-up comedy. While Little Miss has set up its new Normal Heights space to be a welcoming neighborhood bar — decked out with British World War II–themed decor including a giant Union Jack painted on the ceiling — owners Greg and Jade Malkin also recognize that we've become an on-demand culture.
So Little Miss has become San Diego's first brewery to offer growlers on demand, delivered on the back of an electric scooter throughout Normal Heights and surrounding neighborhoods.
Greg Malkin says they were considering signing up with one of the third-party services that deliver growlers locally — Hopsy and Crafthounds. However, the former attorney didn't want to outsource the responsibility to check ID cards. "The brewery is responsible whether or not those services card the end purchaser," he says. "They're effectively agents of the brewery for liquor-license purposes."
Though Malkin stresses he is confident both services follow through on their promise to enforce legal ID rules, he ultimately decided, "The brewery's license is at stake."
He also figured he could do it faster. Little Miss secured a pair of small electric scooters and added Beer Delivery ordering to its website. The tasting room fills and delivers 64-ounce growlers to 92116, 92104, and 92105 zip codes, generally within 30 minutes.
Since kicking off the service in mid-July, Malkin says, "We've actually had a really good response. People are into it!" Although, they probably haven't realized that the delivery is not just coming direct from the brewery but from the brewery owner. "Right now," he adds, "I am driving the scooters."
While Little Miss will eventually hire dedicated staff to handle deliveries, Jade Malkin points out that, for the moment, Greg is having fun driving his "new toys," which have wide tires and a maximum speed of about 25 miles per hour. "He would be lying if he didn’t say that he likes doing it," she says with a laugh.
As far as staying within the confines of the law, Greg Malkin says, "It's the same rules as a bar, basically." He checks ID to make sure the person accepting delivery is the same person who ordered it, is of legal drinking age, and not too inebriated to serve. "If we roll up and they're wasted, we can't give it to them."
If the new service takes off, Little Miss plans to offer it from future tasting rooms as well, including the one they're currently building in Ocean Beach.