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In business, despite the best of intentions and the closest of relationships, sometimes the answer to the classic Kingly query “can’t we all just get along” is “nope!” The latest local unexpected biz partner breakdown involves Julian’s recently revamped Bailey Wood-Pit Barbecue (2307 Main Street).

In May, I wrote about a weekend spent in apple country, hitting up the Bailey for multiple meals and chasing tasty succulent meats with well-crafted beers from Julian Brewing Company, Bailey’s small on-site brew house. The ribs, pork shoulder and brisket I fell hard for came from a kitchen bolstered by the addition of a smoker installed by Vince Marsaglia of Pizza Port fame.

Vince is the co-owner of the growing local pie-and-pint chain (which will expand later this year when its fourth and largest location opens in Carlsbad’s Bressi Ranch). Up until recently, he was also co-owner of the Bailey. His partner was Tom Nickel who’s best known as a former brewer for Pizza Port and Oggi’s Pizza and Brewing, and the current owner of O’Brien’s Pub (4646 Convoy Street) in Kearny Mesa.

I use the term “was” because, as alluded to in my open, they are no longer in cahoots. A situation arose in recent months (one that, from a journalistic perspective, is best not disclosed) that drove a giant ideological wedge between Vince and Tom so huge, it proved unsurpassable. After arguments over who should buy the other out, Tom and wife Lindsey allowed Vince and sister Gina (who also co-owns Pizza Port) to purchase their share of the business.

This is an unfortunate turn of events. Tom was the mastermind behind Julian Brewing Company. Certainly Vince has plenty of brewery personnel who could carry the torch, but without Tom there, the beers will be different (a shame because the initial pale ale, IPA, and stout Tom produced were delicious session ales), or, worst case scenario, non-existent. Meanwhile, Lindsey was in charge of production of all side dishes and desserts, plus certain daily specials. They were also quite tasty, and will be missed.

The silver lining for the Nickels is that another business they have a stake in will be able to benefit from their sudden surplus of spare time. Earlier this year, they teamed up with long-time associate, Larry Kroger, to purchase and transform La Mesa’s West Coast BBQ into West Coast BBQ and Brew (6126 Lake Murray Boulevard). With menu options plucked straight from O’Brien’s as well as beers from Alpine Beer Company, Russian River Brewing Company, and many other mainstays from Tom’s Kearny Mesa taps, plus barbecue made using the same methods and recipes as the Bailey, it’s essentially a hybrid of both businesses.

From here on out, Lindsey will be lending her time and elbow grease to West Coast BBQ and Brew. Tom will also be more involved with the business which, given his experience, can only make it better. On the plus side, many of us are a lot closer to La Mesa than we are to Julian. But bottom line, it’s a big loss for what was the most exciting and passion-driven new business to hit Julian in a long time.

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Ricker Jan. 3, 2014 @ 9:08 p.m.

Actually, you speculated on whether the entire establishment would survive. With respect to all brewers here in SD, a bit of experience can yield great brew especially with all the available hops now. The food and service will be what makes the place. They can buy kegs of kind beer from any number of places and kill it as long as the service and food is good. That is the real story here. Mike is a good choice to run the joint in my opinion.


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