The Kilowatt taproom on Cable Street
It's been nearly a year since Kilowatt Brewing opened a colorfully lit taproom and patio along the main commercial strip of Ocean Beach, and Kilowatt's owners say it's outperformed expectations.
"We knew that we needed to open a second tasting-room space in a busy walkable neighborhood in order to grow our retail sales," says Kilowatt cofounder Steve Kozyk, "and found O.B. to be perfect for the vibe of our second tap room."
Thousands of LED bulbs in the bar light up Kilowatt beer flights
Kilowatt launched in March of 2015 in Kearny Mesa, offering a brewery and tasting-room environment that stood out thanks to animated bartop and decorative blacklight art. The same decorative motif has found a natural fit within the beach community, along with oversized games, including a large Lite-Brite that uses tinted water bottles to serve as colored pegs.
1875 Cable Street, San Diego
Between its blacklit lounge and streetside patio, the new spot's been doing well. "Our sales overall are higher in O.B. than in Kearny Mesa,” affirms Kozyk, explaining that the boost in sales has allowed Kilowatt to follow through on plans to grow from a 3-barrel nanobrewery into a more commercially viable enterprise.
"The success of the O.B. tasting room has allowed us to expand our brewhouse," agrees Kilowatt cofounder Rachel Fischer. At the end of January, Kilowatt will upgrade to a 7-barrel system, bolstered by the addition of 15-barrel fermenters.
"Selling wholesale with the 3-barrel system was not profitable," adds Fischer. However, "The brewhouse expansion will allow us to make enough beer for both of our tasting rooms, and allow us to start selling wholesale."
The partners indicate Kilowatt aims to brew enough to distribute kegs, bottles, and cans to local restaurants, beer bars, and bottle shops. In doing so, Kilowatt isn't merely investing in new equipment, but also a new head brewer: former AleSmith beermaker Brian Crecely.
"It was the right time to bring in a head brewer that had experience working in a bigger commercial brewery," says Kozyk, specifically, "one that had a reputation for producing quality beer and could help drive our expansion."