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Vista votes on 12 outdoor beer-music events for business park

How to bring more customers when you have 20 breweries in one town

Kirby's Dream Band playing a video game music festival at Aztec Brewery  in 2019. - Image by Tristan Faulk-Webster.
Kirby's Dream Band playing a video game music festival at Aztec Brewery in 2019.

The brewery tasting rooms located in the Vista business park near Sycamore Avenue may be getting an added boost in early 2023. The Vista City Council is set to vote in January on a resolution that would permit up to twelve outdoor events for these establishments annually.

“The nature of the business park, it’s a lot different from our breweries downtown where there are different places to eat nearby,” Vista City Councilmember Corrina Contreras explains. “Whether the brewery has a kitchen or not, there is a ton of other amenities around. In the business park it’s not necessarily like that. You have these industrial tasting rooms/breweries, and they don’t really have access to food. So live entertainment ends up being a huge component of their ability to attract folks beyond just having really good beer — because we have some of the best beer in the world here in Vista.”

The current number of yearly events allowed for the tasting rooms in the Vista business park is capped at four, so eight additional events would be on the table for 2023. The events would come at a discount. The tasting rooms currently must pay $1009-$1500 per event for outdoor events that feature amplified music. Outdoor events with no amplified music are charged $150. The new resolution pins a $150 fee to every event even if the event features amplified music.

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“The whole point of a fee is just to cover staff costs on the city side,” Contreras says. “That’s the reason we went forward with amending the specific plan because it allowed us to have a fee structure where we’re essentially utilizing less staff time because there are less steps needed. It becomes more administerial versus a really in-depth plan check. I don’t think we need to have a super, in-depth plan check for some of these live, entertainment venues and events as long as all the people know that need to know — like fire, the sheriffs and the city know that there are events that are going to be happening. I think that’s plenty of people knowing.”

"You have these industrial tasting rooms/breweries, and they don’t really have access to food."

Tristan Faulk-Webster is a co-owner of the Aztec Brewing Company, one of the breweries in the Vista business park that could directly benefit from an increased number of these outdoor events. In fact, Aztec already benefited during a lean year in 2021 when Faulk-Webster estimates they held at least seven or eight outdoor events under special circumstances. “During that time period there was an emergency order which essentially let us have outdoor events any time we wanted to,” he explains. “After they took the emergency order away one of the justifications was, ‘Hey, we have been doing this without any problems.’ So, I think it’s totally reasonable for us to be able to do it again for at least once a month.”

Place

Aztec Brewing Company

2330 La Mirada Drive #300, Vista

One might think that with the pandemic finally easing and life in 2022 seeming far more normal than it did in 2020 and 2021 that the tasting rooms would no longer need extra help to make ends meet. The issue that remains is that there are now over twenty breweries in Vista, and the pool of beer drinkers in the region doesn’t seem large enough to keep all these operations in business. “With the amount of breweries and all of us kind of fighting over the same crowd, the market is totally oversaturated,” Faulk-Webster says. “So, for us, it’s been a smart business move to be able to have events that draw a significant amount of people and help us stay afloat through it all. Me and my family all being musicians, that’s a huge deal for us music-wise. Just being able to have that sort of thing going on.”

Contreras has worked closely with the Vista Brewers Guild to address issues the tasting rooms are dealing with. She viewed the tweaks to outdoor events as “low-hanging fruit” where changes which would have a positive impact could be addressed quickly. In the future, other issues that may be addressed for the tasting rooms in the business park include temporary and permanent structures that can be built outside the establishments, dining and food truck options and parking fixes. The tasting rooms themselves have changed the vibe of the business park. “It creates a different type of atmosphere where there are people there during the day for the business and then people there later in the afternoon and at night for the breweries,” Contreras explains. “So, you have more activation and more eyes on the street. It just lends itself to a better community where you are actually utilizing the space in the community for different types of operations. I think that’s important to have a more diverse way of being in a business park that just doesn’t end at five o’clock. Five o’clock and then it’s like a desert. Now we have our breweries so you give life to this area that would have been kind of stale after five PM.”

One of the fascinating byproducts of the business park tasting rooms and their need for added entertainment is that they inadvertently created a new music scene in Vista. “Before the breweries there was no live music scene in Vista,” Faulk-Webster explains. “With the whole brewery/tasting room thing going on there has been a significant increase in events all over the place. A lot more people are getting into the ‘go local’ mindset. So, go local with breweries, with crafts, with artists and local music too. There’s a lot more appreciation that kind of came out of this.”

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Kirby's Dream Band playing a video game music festival at Aztec Brewery  in 2019. - Image by Tristan Faulk-Webster.
Kirby's Dream Band playing a video game music festival at Aztec Brewery in 2019.

The brewery tasting rooms located in the Vista business park near Sycamore Avenue may be getting an added boost in early 2023. The Vista City Council is set to vote in January on a resolution that would permit up to twelve outdoor events for these establishments annually.

“The nature of the business park, it’s a lot different from our breweries downtown where there are different places to eat nearby,” Vista City Councilmember Corrina Contreras explains. “Whether the brewery has a kitchen or not, there is a ton of other amenities around. In the business park it’s not necessarily like that. You have these industrial tasting rooms/breweries, and they don’t really have access to food. So live entertainment ends up being a huge component of their ability to attract folks beyond just having really good beer — because we have some of the best beer in the world here in Vista.”

The current number of yearly events allowed for the tasting rooms in the Vista business park is capped at four, so eight additional events would be on the table for 2023. The events would come at a discount. The tasting rooms currently must pay $1009-$1500 per event for outdoor events that feature amplified music. Outdoor events with no amplified music are charged $150. The new resolution pins a $150 fee to every event even if the event features amplified music.

Sponsored
Sponsored

“The whole point of a fee is just to cover staff costs on the city side,” Contreras says. “That’s the reason we went forward with amending the specific plan because it allowed us to have a fee structure where we’re essentially utilizing less staff time because there are less steps needed. It becomes more administerial versus a really in-depth plan check. I don’t think we need to have a super, in-depth plan check for some of these live, entertainment venues and events as long as all the people know that need to know — like fire, the sheriffs and the city know that there are events that are going to be happening. I think that’s plenty of people knowing.”

"You have these industrial tasting rooms/breweries, and they don’t really have access to food."

Tristan Faulk-Webster is a co-owner of the Aztec Brewing Company, one of the breweries in the Vista business park that could directly benefit from an increased number of these outdoor events. In fact, Aztec already benefited during a lean year in 2021 when Faulk-Webster estimates they held at least seven or eight outdoor events under special circumstances. “During that time period there was an emergency order which essentially let us have outdoor events any time we wanted to,” he explains. “After they took the emergency order away one of the justifications was, ‘Hey, we have been doing this without any problems.’ So, I think it’s totally reasonable for us to be able to do it again for at least once a month.”

Place

Aztec Brewing Company

2330 La Mirada Drive #300, Vista

One might think that with the pandemic finally easing and life in 2022 seeming far more normal than it did in 2020 and 2021 that the tasting rooms would no longer need extra help to make ends meet. The issue that remains is that there are now over twenty breweries in Vista, and the pool of beer drinkers in the region doesn’t seem large enough to keep all these operations in business. “With the amount of breweries and all of us kind of fighting over the same crowd, the market is totally oversaturated,” Faulk-Webster says. “So, for us, it’s been a smart business move to be able to have events that draw a significant amount of people and help us stay afloat through it all. Me and my family all being musicians, that’s a huge deal for us music-wise. Just being able to have that sort of thing going on.”

Contreras has worked closely with the Vista Brewers Guild to address issues the tasting rooms are dealing with. She viewed the tweaks to outdoor events as “low-hanging fruit” where changes which would have a positive impact could be addressed quickly. In the future, other issues that may be addressed for the tasting rooms in the business park include temporary and permanent structures that can be built outside the establishments, dining and food truck options and parking fixes. The tasting rooms themselves have changed the vibe of the business park. “It creates a different type of atmosphere where there are people there during the day for the business and then people there later in the afternoon and at night for the breweries,” Contreras explains. “So, you have more activation and more eyes on the street. It just lends itself to a better community where you are actually utilizing the space in the community for different types of operations. I think that’s important to have a more diverse way of being in a business park that just doesn’t end at five o’clock. Five o’clock and then it’s like a desert. Now we have our breweries so you give life to this area that would have been kind of stale after five PM.”

One of the fascinating byproducts of the business park tasting rooms and their need for added entertainment is that they inadvertently created a new music scene in Vista. “Before the breweries there was no live music scene in Vista,” Faulk-Webster explains. “With the whole brewery/tasting room thing going on there has been a significant increase in events all over the place. A lot more people are getting into the ‘go local’ mindset. So, go local with breweries, with crafts, with artists and local music too. There’s a lot more appreciation that kind of came out of this.”

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The latest copy of the Reader

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Sandollar, Courtly Noyse, Shelbi Bennett, Jewel, and Punk Rock Chili Dog Social

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