Dan Romeo serves beer, kombucha, and coffee, all made in house, at TRVLR Coffee and One Season Brewing
One Season Brewing Co., San Diego’s newest nanobrewery, is now pouring — inside a small Grantville coffee roaster shop that sells bikes, skateboards, and house-made kombucha. About the only thing that could make the place more San Diego would be if it sold surfboards. Which it would, except for one thing.
“I just don’t have room,” says Dan Romeo, “I already have things hanging from the ceiling here.” Romeo is the veritable one-man show behind the multi-faceted business, which started out in 2019 as a relatively simple coffee concept: TRVLR Coffee Roaster.
Pronounced traveler, TRVLR is branded around the active lifestyle Romeo, originally from New Jersey, has adopted in San Diego, including back-country biking and triathlons. Romeo spent a year trying to secure a TRVLR location before taking over the Mission Gorge roasting warehouse originally established by The WestBean Coffee Roasters (5839 Mission Gorge Road, Unit D) after WestBean moved its production to Bay Ho.
Romeo says TRVLR had forged a niche, selling wholesale beans to local offices and cafes, when the pandemic showed up to shut most of his customers down. So he jumped a couple years ahead on his five-year plan, and diversified. “I’m going from crawling to sprinting,” he says.
His initial premise had the casual REI shopper in mind. “You might shop there once a year for a jacket,” Romeo says, “If they had coffee, food, more of a social element you would go there a lot more often.” He points to businesses such as Scottsdale, Arizona’s Regroup Coffee + Bicycles, and Full Cycle Bikes, the Boulder, Colorado bike shop that features a taproom and restaurant.
Romeo built an espresso bar in the corner of the roastery, now equipped with cold brew and nitro cold brew taps. In another corner, he stocked Onewheel electric skateboards and State bicycles for sale. TRVLR also became the first independent retailer to sell longboards from Carlsbad skate company Magneto.
Picnic tables just outside the warehouse’s roll-up door afford customers a place to sit, within view of TRVLR’s makeshift, burlap coffee bar. After that, the retail corner, and the roaster, the last quarter of the mere 1300 square foot space is dedicated to the newest leg of the business: brewing. Both beer and hard kombucha.
“My covid project was to start making kombucha,” says Romeo. It started selling quickly enough that he was encouraged to invest in a small brewing rig, and enlisting the help of a local brewer to produce beers conducive to active lifestyle: primarily lagers.
One Season Brewing was named for the unvarying climate Romeo encountered when he first arrived in San Diego. “The middle of February,” he recounts, “It’s sleeting and snowing in New Jersey. When the plane landed here, it’s 75 degrees.”
Beers were first One Season drinks to pour after its license came through in March, but Romeo says hard kombucha is on the way.
Either way, the pandemic-born retail shop now remains open from 9 am to 9 pm, with hour-appropriate brews available throughout. While the shop’s current quarters are tight — a two-lane road is painted on the floor to guide foot traffic — Romeo hopes to open a larger location within the next year or two, in a more typically commercial location with room enough for more bike, skate, and surf, as well as both beverage concepts.