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New Craft Beers and Artisanal Spirits in San Diego

New Craft Beers and Artisanal Spirits in San Diego

BNS Brewing & Distilling Co. opens to fanfare

New brewery and distillery.

All of San Diego, Calif. is pretty pumped for the opening of the latest craft brewery — and artisanal distillery. BNS Brewing & Distilling Co. opened its tasting room, as well as outdoor beer garden, the weekend of June 1 just off of Highway 67.

Eater reports that the tasting room will have 20 taps and a copper chill line (to keep beers chilled) just for the brewery's beers, "four core beers (the Wild West-inspired Gunfighter Golden Ale, Flintlock Black IPA, Revolver American IPA and Saloon Girl Saison )." As of now, BNS Brewing & Distilling Co.'s beers only come in draught form, but Eater says the head brewer Dan Jensen and co-founder Wes Richey, will eventually can and bottle their beers. And of course, there's also a large outdoor beer garden to enjoy the BNS beers (and down the road, maybe a rooftop patio).

And starting in June, that tasting room will also include the distilled products from the brewing/distilling company. You can get a distillery tour for now of the small-batch operation, but soon you'll be able to try BNS' whiskey, vodka, gin, and bourbon.


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CUTWATER VODKA

True precision. It’s something you can taste. Just ask the people who seek out the venomous Fugu fish, the world’s most methodically prepared delicacy. Our own Fugu Vodka is no less the result of meticulous attention to detail. Distilled from some of the world’s finest corn based grains and filtered 15 times. Because anything less than perfection is a mortal sin.

󈬢 Best”
2014: Gold

American Craft Spirits Award
2016: Best in Class
2016: Gold

American Craft Supplies Association
2016: Best of Category

American Distilling Institute
2016: Silver
2017: Silver
2018: Silver
2019: Silver
2020: Bronze

Berlin International Spirits Competition
2017: Silver
2020: Gold

Denver International Spirits Competition
2014: Gold
2017: Gold
2019: Silver
2020: Silver

Distilled: San Diego Spirit & Cocktail Competition
2015: Silver
2016: Silver
2019: Gold
2019: Best of Class
2020: Bronze

Los Angeles International Spirits Competition
2014: Bronze
2017: Gold
2017: Gold
2017: Best of Category

New York International Spirits Competition
2017: Silver
2018: Double Gold
2019: Gold

San Francisco World Spirits Competition
2014: Silver
2014: Bronze
2014: Packaging Design
2015: Silver
2017: Silver
2018: Silver
2019: Gold
2020: Double Gold

Spirits International Prestige (SIP) Awards
2013: Silver
2014: Gold
2014: Consumer’s Choice
2016: Silver
2017: Bronze
2017: Consumer’s Choice
2019: Double Gold
2019: Innovation Award
2019: Consumer’s Choice


Anheuser-Busch Welcomes Cutwater Spirits!

Anheuser-Busch is delighted to share that Cutwater Spirits, an award-winning spirits and canned cocktail company, is joining their growing Beyond Beer portfolio.

Founded in 2016 by former Ballast Point executives, Cutwater Spirits has quickly become a leader in the premium ready-to-enjoy cocktail market with its high-quality ingredients, transparent packaging and innovative combinations. In total, Cutwater Spirits has seven premium mixers, 14 canned cocktails and 16 types of spirits encompassing variations of whiskey, vodka, gin and rum. They currently distribute to 34 states and have experienced double and triple-digit growth since inception.

“We’re thrilled to have found a partner that understands our vision for Cutwater Spirits and will give us the tools and resources to grow and thrive. We’re excited to join Anheuser-Busch and work with the team there to bring our spirits and canned cocktails to the world,” said Yuseff Cherney, Cutwater Spirits Founder.

Cutwater Spirits is based in San Diego, CA and operates out a 50,000 square foot production facility. The company, which will continue to be led by Yuseff Cherney, Earl Kight, and other Senior-level Managers will leverage Anheuser-Busch’s expertise in logistics & distribution, brand-building and packaging to scale the brand even faster.

“We’re excited to welcome the Cutwater Spirits team to the Anheuser-Busch family. We have tremendous respect for the brand that Cutwater Spirits has created and cultivated in just a few years and look forward to working with them to expand their premium canned cocktails to consumers across the U.S.,” said Marina Hahn, New Business Co-Founder, Anheuser-Busch.

Cutwater Spirits will add premium ready-to-enjoy cocktails to Anheuser-Busch’s “Beyond Beer” portfolio, which already includes the Ritas, Spiked Seltzer, Babe Rose and HiBall.

The partnership with Cutwater Spirits is subject to regulatory approval. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

About Cutwater Spirits

Built on the spirit of innovation, Cutwater Spirits is an award-winning maker of distilled spirits, mixers, and ready-to-enjoy canned cocktails based in San Diego, California. Originally founded in 2007 as Ballast Point Spirits, and rebranded in 2016 as Cutwater Spirits, we have amassed over 450 awards across our portfolio of products and are currently distributed in 34 states. We have become an industry leader in the RTD canned cocktail market with 14 different spirit based canned products, including our American Distillers Institute Best-in-Class winning Vodka Mule, San Francisco World Spirits Competition Gold Medal winning Spicy Bloody Mary, and our line of Vodka Sodas featuring 99 calories and zero carbohydrates. Production takes place at our 50,000 square foot facility in the Miramar neighborhood of San Diego, which includes a 250-seat world-class tasting room offering lunch, dinner, cocktails, and tours, where guests can learn about our products and experience our R&D process. For more information, visit www.cutwaterspirits.com or follow Cutwater on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

For more than 165 years, Anheuser-Busch has been woven into the cultural fabric of the United States, carrying on a legacy of brewing great-tasting, high-quality beers that have satisfied beer drinkers for generations. Today, we own and operate 23 breweries, 15 distributorships and 23 agricultural and packaging facilities, and have more than 18,000 colleagues across the United States. We are home to several of America’s most recognizable beer brands, including Budweiser, Bud Light, Michelob ULTRA and Stella Artois, as well as a number of regional brands that provide beer drinkers with a choice of the best-tasting craft beers in the industry.

From responsible drinking programs and emergency drinking water donations to industry-leading sustainability efforts, we are guided by our unwavering commitment to supporting the communities we call home.


San Diego Distillers Guild Members Produce And Donate Sanitizers In Response To COVID-19

In support of its San Diego community and frontline workers near and far during the COVID-19 crisis, the San Diego Distillers Guild announces a multi-member initiative that has seen more than a dozen San Diego craft distilleries switching operations to produce large quantities of hand sanitizer in lieu of artisanal spirits.

As produced, Guild member distilleries have and continue to supply thousands of gallons to first responders and those on the frontline, while distributing free and low-cost hand sanitizer to the public during a time when demand for the product has risen exponentially.

“The last several weeks have been nothing short of extraordinary for our small but mighty distilling community here in San Diego. The combined efforts of our member distilleries have impacted and greatly benefited virtually every corner of California and beyond.
The story that will be told of this effort is one for the ages, and we can’t wait to tell it,” said Geoff Longenecker, President of the San Diego Distillers Guild and founder of Seven Caves Spirits, a Miramar distillery that has so far produced more than 6,000 gallons of sanitizer in an equal-parts effort with fellow Guild member Liberty Call Distilling.

The lineup of San Diego Distillers Guild members participating in the production and distribution of hand sanitizer includes:

To date, Guild members have produced and then donated or sold more than 10,000 gallons of sanitizer to agencies and organizations such as the City of San Diego, United States Postal Service, UPS, the US Navy (including the USS Portland, USS Pearl Harbor, and USS Independence), the City of Los Angeles, and Amazon, as well as most local police and fire departments, banks and credit unions, grocery stores, hospice and healthcare workers, and civic organizations locally and as far away as Texas and Hawaii.

Many members have also made simultaneous efforts to distribute hand sanitizer to the public, often with no purchase required. Several pop-up sanitizer giveaways have and continue to happen around the county, with people lining up six feet apart to receive a
bottle for personal use. While distributed on a first come first serve basis, Guild members have yet to run out of hand sanitizer and together are continuing production to steel against possible future shortages caused by the outbreak of COVID-19.

“This has been a crazy run. Six weeks ago we were trying to open a new tasting room, and now we’re making thousands of gallons of sanitizer with Seven Caves Spirits. I would have never in a million years seen that pivot coming,” said Bill Rogers, Treasurer of the San Diego Distillers Guild and founder of Liberty Call Distilling with locations in Spring Valley and Barrio Logan.

The San Diego Distillers Guild has created a webpage listing members currently making sanitizer, with contact information provided for each craft distillery here. In addition to hand sanitizer, several distilleries with kitchens also remain open for takeout of food and spirits interested parties are encouraged to contact each directly to confirm hours and availability.


Infinium Spirits announces relocation to San Diego

Infinium Spirits officially announced the relocation of its corporate headquarters to San Diego, right in the heart of the Gaslamp Quarter, at 5th and Market. Infinium Spirits, formerly headquartered in Orange County, anticipates opening the doors to its new headquarters as soon as public health orders allow, ensuring employee safety, it says.

Infinium Spirits' portfolio includes Templeton Rye, the official whiskey of the San Diego Padres Skrewball Peanut Butter Whiskey, the official whiskey of the San Diego Gulls Seagram's Vodka Corralejo Tequila Crystal Head Vodka Zaya Rum Torres Brandy Tears of Llorona Tequila Los Arango Tequila Magdala Orange Liqueur Rives Gin and El Gobernador Pisco. With its expanding and rapidly growing portfolio, Infinium Spirits saw U.S. sales grow 65 percent in 2020 based on IRI data. Infinium Spirits is also expanding its portfolio and footprint internationally.

"This past year, despite the challenges of COVID, we ended 2020 in a stronger position than we started—thanks to great brands and a dedicated team. Our move to San Diego will create new opportunities for our people, for brand growth, and for deeper engagement in the community. We are extremely excited about the future of Infinium Spirits in San Diego," said Daniel Walker, president of Infinium Spirits, in a statement.

Infinium Spirits has relocated numerous people from its previous headquarters in Aliso Viejo, Orange County, and is hiring new team members in San Diego to support its expansion. "In a time when people and companies have been exiting downtown districts across the country, we are diving in, knowing the Gaslamp Quarter is the vibrant work and social hub that we wanted as the setting for enhanced creativity and collaboration for our company," Walker added.

Chris Underwood, chief executive officer of Young's Holdings Inc., parent company of Infinium Spirits said: "My family and I have been San Diego residents for 17 years now. I love this city. We are building Infinium's future in and with San Diego. San Diego is a Top 10 U.S. city and I could not be more excited to bring our spirits business here."

Infinium Spirits recently celebrated the move by hosting "Welcome to San Diego" day, an open house offering new employees and everyone who relocated from Orange County an opportunity to get a sneak peek of the new office.

"Our new office space has been designed with our employees in mind to be enjoyable and to foster collaboration, while incorporating an environment where our values of family and entrepreneurial spirit come to life. As we look to start an important new chapter for Infinium Spirits, we felt it was important to provide an opportunity for the team — which has been working remotely for the past year — to actually see the office," Walker said.


Share All sharing options for: San Diego Spirits: 6 Local Distilleries and Where to Find Them

Distilling is a tradition as old as time, but it was only just recently that a craft distilling presence emerged in San Diego. While the numbers remain small--less than ten are currently open to the public, with more expected soon--local industry players are optimistic of an inevitable growth, citing San Diego as the ideal location to spearhead a revolution in distillation technique and design. Why? Ray Digilio, founder and distiller of Kill Devil Spirit Company and president of the San Diego's Distillers Guild, says it’s because the people here are open minded and willing to try something new, as tested and proven by the booming success of the craft brewing movement over the past two decades in fact, some of the distilleries featured here also have successful breweries tied to their name (like Ballast Point and Twisted Manzanita). Although still in its early stages, the San Diego craft spirit movement is a prime example of a grassroots amassing of people who share a common devotion and zeal for the craft of distillation. Eater San Diego reached out to the six forerunning local distilleries to find out a little more about who they are, what they have to offer, and what we can expect for the future. Here, the distillers explain in their own words.

KILL DEVIL SPIRIT CO.

Location: 2766 Via Orange Way, Spring Valley, CA 91978

Kill Devil Spirit Co. was established in 2011 in San Diego, CA by a small group of like-minded, rebellious geeks. The company is committed to the hand manufacture of world class spirits and testing the boundaries of traditional distilling practices. With every bottle produced the operation seeks to achieve a self-sustainability which contributes to local, global and environmental prosperity.

What they serve: The spirits they currently produce are Ugly California Moonshine, Ugly California Rise & Shine (In collaboration with Dark Horse Coffee Roasters ), Rx Unfiltered Vodka, and Valor West Coast Gin.

Where you can find it: Their spirits are located all around the City of San Diego. To find the location nearest you, go their website and hit the "Find" tab. Some of Kill Devil’s key accounts include: Harrah's Rincon Casino , The Tipsy Crow , Cat Eye Club , PB Ale House , Seven Grand , Krisp Organic Market, Keg n’ Bottle, Texas Wine and Liquor, and Holiday Wine Cellar.

Future plans: As of October 2014 Kill Devil Spirits started the launch of a very unique craft whiskey program. All of the whiskeys released will be small batch spirits inspired by craft beer recipes and styles. These products will be available for purchase by spring/summer 2015 through the Southern Wine & Spirit Artisanal Catalogue. You can find keep up to date on their latest releases by following their Instagram , Facebook , and Twitter profiles.

LIBERTY CALL DISTILLING

Location: 2739 Via Orange Way Suite 110, Spring Valley, CA 91978

Bold, inventive, and definitely delicious. That’s how Liberty Call Distilling hopes to define itself. The distillery was first conceived in early 2011, during many conversations about whiskey and the differences between today's whiskey versus what was available before Prohibition. After much debate and research, owner and founder Bill Rogers was given the go-ahead by his wife in April of 2013 and began the licensing paperwork required by the TTB (Fed's) and the ABC (California). They have now successfully set up shop and just got their final license last week and the inaugural distilling commenced over the weekend. What makes Liberty Call so exciting is their commitment and mission to do something completely different. They’re not trying to mimic a great recipe that already exists and they don’t intend to compete with anyone. As Rogers said, "If you want a great Bourbon you can find them in Kentucky. Great Single Malts are from Scotland. And nobody can compete with Mexican Tequila. We are trying to come up with new recipes and styles that will be unique to San Diego."

What they serve: They will launch with a White Rum, a Citrus Spiced Rum, and Dark Spiced Rum. They will also have a Moonshine.

Where you can find it: They have just started distilling at their current location and tasting room, and plan to be on shelves by the first of the year. Check their blog for updates.

Future plans: In the very near future they will have an aged rum, as well as their first aged whiskey. Although Rogers currently operates as a one-man-band, he has plans to bring on several different partners in the upcoming months following their launch. Stay tuned!

TWISTED MANZANITA SPIRITS

Location: 10149 Prospect Ave, Santee, CA 92071

Twisted Manzanita has been distilling for quite sometime now, but only within the last year did they open their distillery to the public. The idea behind their distillery was to create a place where both craft spirit enthusiasts and craft spirit novices alike could come to taste their product and learn more about the process behind small batch distilling.

What they serve: The list of products you can sample at their distillery tasting room include their: Orange Vodka, Rebellious Rye Whiskey, Limoncello, Apple Smack, Oaked Bacon Moonshine, Manzanita Moonshine (matured with Manzanita wood), Manzanita Rum, Manzanita Oaked Rum, Manzanita SoCal Moonshine, and their Manzanita Oaked Moonshine. The distillery tasting room is open Fridays and Saturdays from 5pm to 10pm.

Where you can find it: Currently, their SoCal Moonshine and SoCal Oaked Moonshine are the only two spirits available on the market, with the Rebellious Rye Whiskey set for their next release. To find specific locations, check out their handy Bottle Locator tool on their website.

Future plans: As far as anything they may have up their sleeve for down the road, the team at Twisted Manzanita hopes to continue their creative tradition that they started by pushing the envelope on what a craft spirit can be. At the same time, they want to introduce more people to the "Softer Side of Spirits" taste profile that they have created, embodied by a concept where you can enjoy all of the flavor without the burn of traditional liquors.

BALLAST POINT SPIRITS

Location: 10051 Old Grove Rd, San Diego, CA 92131

In 2008, San Diego’s beloved local brewers indulged their adventurous side (yet again) and fearlessly journeyed into the world of distilling. Perhaps considered a risky move when they already had a good thing going with their craft beer, the folks at Ballast Point Spirits explain their transitional venture with this simple statement: We make what we like to drink, and that doesn't stop at beer. Thus far, their brand of spirits has been greeted with a successful and warm reception, which likely has something to do with their use of the same meticulous strategies they applied to the brewing side of business. They didn’t just jump into this one without thinking it all the way through they took their time, they studied traditions, they experimented with techniques, and the end result was award-winning spirits that the brand is truly proud of.

What they serve: Their product lineup includes 14 spirits and two mixers: Old Grove Gin, Old Grove Barrel Rested Gin, Fugu Vodka, four Fugu flavored Vodkas (Horchata, Habanero, Pina, and Jamaica), Three Sheets White Rum, Three Sheets Barrel Aged Rum, Three Sheets Spiced Rum, Devil's Share Single Malt Whiskey, Devil's Share Bourbon, Devil's Share Moonshine, Opah herbal liqueur, and their two cocktail mixers, Ballast Point Bloody Mary Mix and Ballast Point Mai Tai mix. They just released their Opah liqueur in October, and will be introducing the new Three Sheets Spiced Rum in November.

Where you can find it: Those interested in putting Ballast Point Spirits to the taste test can start by trying a few of the samplings offered in their Old Grove tasting room (located at 10051 Old Grove Road). They offer guided tastings daily at 1, 3, 5, and 7pm. Tastings are $10 and include a .25oz pour of 6 of their spirits. Otherwise, you can find the spirits for purchase at BevMo, Whole Foods, Vons, and the "better stocked" liquor stores in the area. They distribute spirits throughout California and in 6 other states.

Future plans: They are planning to release their third Three Sheets Rum product--spiced rum--by the end of November. Other than that, the folks at Ballast Point are always tinkering with new recipes…they just can't talk about any of them yet so you’ll have to wait and see!

OLD HARBOR DISTILLING CO.

Location: 270 17th St, San Diego, CA 92101

The brand spanking new Old Harbor Distilling Co. just opened its doors for business in a 7,500-square foot warehouse in the East Village as Eater San Diego reported last week . The founder and head distiller, Michael Skubic, is a well known presence on the local craft brew scene and his background includes a large role in Hess Brewing Company , of which he is the co-founder and formerly functioned as their head of sales. His talent, passion and affinity for craft beers led him to segue into a new pursuit of equal appeal, that of craft spirits. It took years to make his dream come to fruition, but Skubic is proud to announce that they are finally open.

The name Old Harbor Distilling Co. is derived from the fact that San Diego is the oldest harbor in California it was discovered in 1542 by Cabrillo, but he originally called it San Miguel, which is also the name of Old Harbor’s first release. A "Southwestern Gin" meaning that they used botanicals typically found in southwestern or Mexican cuisine.

What they serve: Their spirits line includes gin, rum, rye, bourbon, whiskey and a coffee liqueur made in collaboration with Coffee & Tea Collective. Old Harbor's San Miguel gin is made with fresh local ingredients picked the day of distilling at Suzie's Farm , including cilantro, sage and cucumber bottles should be at stores and bars come November. California Law dictates that they can only serve six 1/4 ounce tastes per customer per day so Skubic says they will be serving whatever they have on hand at the time. Right now that is only the San Miguel Gin, but lots of future products are on the way.

Where you can find it: The gin will be out in bars in November at some cool spots like Sycamore Den , Coin-Op , Rare Form and more. If you can’t wait until then, you can book a tour of the distillery via Old Harbor’s website . The tours start at 4, 5, and 6pm on Fridays and Saturdays. The $10 tours include a detailed explanation of their distilling process and a visit to the 600-square-foot tasting room for six quarter-ounce spirit samplings, which come with a keeper glass.

Future plans: Going forward, the distillery will release a new spirit every month or so rolling out soon will be Barrelflag, a navy strength white rum, plus a barrel-aged version, aged for a minimum of six months. Ampersand, a coffee liqueur made with Coffee & Tea Collective , is in the works as is a gin called 1542 made with native botanicals, including California juniper, sagebrush and lemon verbena. Scubic also says he plans to start creating batches of hopped amaro using IPA's from different local breweries including Societe Brewing Co , Monkey Paw Pub and Brewery and Mike Hess Brewing . Old Harbor is also working hard on their whiskey program and will be releasing four regular whiskies--Bourbon, Rye, Single Malt and Smoked Single Malt--but intend to throw in a handful of special editions now and then.

MALAHAT SPIRITS

Location: 8706 Production Avenue, San Diego, CA 92121

Malahat Spirits was started by three friends, Ken Lee, Tony Grillo, and Tom Bleakely that set out to create the finest spirits for themselves, their friends and their families. Their belief was that the spirits industry had room for innovation and quality, and that they could be the ones to pioneer this so they set out to make the best spirits possible. For each Malahat spirit created, months were spent seeking out the best ingredients. The team combined traditional techniques with experimentation and handcrafted it all from scratch.

Their journey started over two years ago and every step of the way, no matter what the task, it was important for everyone to be a part of every aspect of the distillery to ensure their vision. All of their products started as experimental batches in their small sill, where recipes were refined before production. Their white Rum alone took months of experimental blends and many dozens of batches before finding that perfect blend. The Spiced Rum has won a gold medal at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition. Malahat is proud of every drop they make. Fun fact: Their facility actually has artifacts from the Star of India and Maritime Museum throughout the distillery, as well as some props from a well known Hollywood movie.

What they serve: Currently, they serve three products that are on shelves: Rum, Spiced Rum and Ginger Rum. There is also a sampling of spirits that you can taste only at the distillery. They have seasonal samplings to try, like the Iced Tea Rum, and they are planning something special for the holidays. At the distillery you can sample the progress of their barrel aged rum and whiskey.

Where you can find it: Malahat is in many bars, restaurants, and retailers throughout San Diego. Restaurants include Polite Provisions , Sea and Smoke , Saiko Sushi , Patio on Goldfinch , and Rancho Valencia . Retailers include Krisp (in the Gaslamp) and Seaside Market (in Cardiff).

Future plans: They will continue to monitor the progress of their barreled aged rum and whiskey, and are thrilled with the direction they are headed. No spirit will be released until it is completely ready. They are always innovating so they may have some releases before then!


We began distilling in 2015 with a mission to re-imagine what craft spirits could be.

Whiskeys

Vodkas

Specialty

Herbal


The Spirits of San Diego

Published July 18, 2013 &bull Updated on July 26, 2013 at 8:28 pm

FIVE YEARS OF LIBATIONS: Top tens and twenties and best-of lists rule the internet, it's true. What would onlinedom be without its Top Ten Lists? A whole lot emptier. And any top beer roster, as in craft beers or fancy beers or bespoke beers or posh breweries, is going to contain a particular city's name at some point: San Diego. San Diego, in the last decade or so, has become one of the supreme cities of all things suds, with a bevy of top-notch brewhouses -- think San Diego Brewing Company, Barrel Harbor Brewing, and Coronado Brewing Company, among many others -- regularly appearing on the industry's most glowable lists. With all due respect to beer, though, the city has a vibrant spirits scene , one that's been on full display for the last half decade courtesy of the San Diego Spirits Festival. The weekend long toast is set to pour again on Saturday, Aug. 24 and Sunday, Aug. 25 at the Port Pavilion.

AND YES. of course local beers will make a showing -- they should and must -- but attendees will also sip on cocktails made by the region's most excellent beveragians. (Should "beveragian" replace "mixologist" for awhile, a great word that's had a long, long run? We're making the pitch.) Brands like Bracero Tequila, Venom Vodka, and Peregrine Rock'll be in the glasses. Cost for an afternoon? Ninety bucks.

MORE SPIRITS. If you visited the post thinking we might be set to talk about the area's rather ghosty history, we hate to leave you hauntless. So take heart: The Whaley House, reputed to be one of the nation's most spirited abodes (by various ghost-hunting organizations that do the reputing), will soon be entering its October season. Meaning? More after-dark tours, more terrifying tales, more "did that rocking chair just move?" sightings. Brave enough? Best keep an eye on this calendar. The October schedule will be up before you know it.


New Craft Beers and Artisanal Spirits in San Diego - Recipes

San Diego - America's Beer Capital
Craft Breweries - Part 2


Gwen Conley, Lost Abbey microbiologist works with wild yeast strains. Lost Abbey beers available at the brewery.

The Lost Abbey/Port Brewing Company

Vince and Gina Marsaglia started the Pizza Port brew pubs in Solana Beach, California during 1987. The next brew pub popped up later that year in Carlsbad, and 2003 saw the Pizza Port San Clemente open as well. In 2006, Arthur Tomme, Head Brewer of the Solana Beach Pizza Port, along with the Marsaglia family and Jim Comstock split from the Pizza Port brand name and started the Port Brewing/Lost Abbey located in the old haunts of Stone Brewing Company in San Marcos, California. The Lost Abbey is a separate brewing project that strives to create unique Belgian-inspired ales.

Hospitality Manager Kevin Hopkins states, &ldquoWe&rsquore very proud to be one of the largest breweries in San Diego, but we don&rsquot look at our size as an indictor of the brand. We&rsquore very boutique and very niche&mdash both the Port Side with the West Coast style ales, as well as the Lost Abbey side getting into the Belgian influenced and inspired beers. The barrel program is very unique, eclectic and diverse.&rdquo The Belgian-style barrel aged beers are produced using 11-13 different kinds of barrels and usually one or more combinations of Brettanomyces yeast strains that cellar master and microbiologist Gwen Conley intensely monitors. Lost Abbey's giant 10,000 square foot barrel-aging warehouse accommodates 850+ barrels.


Lost Abbey&rsquos bar area interior.

Above the door of Lost Abbey's tasting room is the inscription, &ldquoIn Illa Brettanomyces, Nos Fides,&rdquo Latin for &ldquoIn Wild Yeast, We Believe&hellip&rdquo. Here is where you can sample their barrel aged beers, and get a peek at one of their small barrel rooms. A good example is Red Poppy, a 5.5% take on the Flanders Red Ale. Sour cherries are added to a brown ale base before aging in over 68 different varieties of used wooden barrels. On the last batch, only 48 of these barrels are used to create the blend that is Red Poppy. All of the Lost Abbey beers are unique since they are all individualized blends from distinctly selected barrels of choice.

Lost Abbey recently released an Ultimate Box Set designed like a classic rock concept album. &ldquoTracks 1-12&rdquo are beers that had been periodically released each month for the past year, and includes full sized album sleeves and artwork for each bottles&rsquo unique custom labels. Liner notes are included with each bottle in the specialty hand-made case and available only by a lotto drawing. Cost: $450. &ldquoAll of that helps tell a story. That&rsquos why you see the original artwork, liner and label notes that go with all our beers. We&rsquore trying to provide an experience that&rsquos both sensory as well as visually appealing to all our patrons. San Diego is the hallmark of that&rdquo, says Hopkins. &ldquoVinnie from Russian River started down here, Tomme started at Pizza Port and everyone down here is really connected. In the San Diego beer scene it&rsquos very much a community thing. I think it&rsquos not like who makes the best IPA, but what great IPA am I going to drink today. Lost Abbey is indicative of the diversity and how eclectic the brewing culture is here in San Diego. We&rsquore not predicated to just one style.&rdquo Lost Abbey currently distributes to 9 states, about 13 different markets and overseas to Europe.

The Lost Abbey / Port Brewing Company- 155 Mata Way #104, San Marcos, CA


Manzanita brewer & co-founder, Garry Pitman with skids of bottles. Manzanita brewer & co-founder, Jeff Trevaskis in the tap room.

Manzanita Brewing Company

Garry Pitman and Jeff Trevaskis started homebrewing together about nine years ago when they were both employees of Kodak. In December of 2009, after years of business planning and equipment collecting, the two brewers decided to leave Kodak and start Manzanita Brewing Company in Santee, San Diego. Soon to celebrate their three year anniversary, the new 2000 barrel-a-year production facility supplies the San Diego beer market with bombers of their six core beers, along with a few special brews. &ldquoWe have enough core beers that hit a wide audience. It&rsquos amazing, there are six core beers and people still come up to me and say they enjoy at least three or four of them. We have variety, everyone can find a beer here,&rdquo Trevaskis says.


The inner workings of Manzanita Brewing Company.

Coming off a fresh bronze medal win in the Experimental Beer category at the World Beer Cup is their smoked rye ale, Where There&rsquos Smoke. Sitting at 7.4% ABV, a palpable heat comes off this dry, smoky ale brewed with chili peppers. Taste the River Walk Blonde, a 6% AB Kolsch-style ale with light, fruity flavors and balanced malt proportions. Pitman proclaims, &ldquoI call it a lawnmower beer. But it&rsquos really a nice introduction beer for some folks.&rdquo A seasonal Pumpkin Ale is worthy of the hype. Witch&rsquos Hair Pumpkin Ale is a heavy hitter at 9.5% ABV and is brewed using tons of actual pumpkin flesh, not the canned stuff. Fresh spices complete a creamy and satiating Fall brew with a light mouthfeel and a surprising ability to conceal the alcohol.

Twenty-two ounce bottles fill San Diego and North County shelves, while libations will begin flooding into Riverside, Orange and San Bernardino counties. These two brewers are also on the cutting edge of the micro-distilling scene. They feel as if the spirits distilling scene is now where the home brewing industry was in the mid 1980&rsquos before it exploded in popularity. During the 2012 holiday season, a thousand-gallon still at Manzanita provided drink to many fortunate imbibing customers.

Manzanita Brewing Company- 10151 Prospect Avenue, Santee, CA


Interior wall of the production facility at Mother Earth Brewing Company.

Mother Earth Brewing Company

Mother Earth Brewing Company was founded in 2008 by three skilled brewers. In 2010, the trio moved their small homebrew supply shop from the brewery to a 6,000 square foot tasting room in downtown Vista. Their barrel-aging program began in the Spring of 2012. The Main Street tasting room is hooked up with exposed bricks and an open patio, enhanced with a vintage beer can collection, banners depicting artwork of the core Mother Earth beers, and rock &lsquon roll memorabilia. The piece de resistance is the long, modern bar with ten taps running a whole gambit of styles.

At the home base and current production facility, surrounded by vintage concert tour posters and record album art is where you will find Kamron Khannakhjavani, brewing while cranking rock &lsquon roll music. &ldquoThe Main Street location is just going gangbusters. So we ramped up our brewing schedule, and we&rsquore going to hopefully get back on track for the distribution game soon,&rdquo says Kamron. Distribution is now in place for selling 22oz bomber bottles of their core beers in the San Diego area.


List of what&rsquos on tap in the Mother Earth Brewing Co tasting room.

Mother Earth will eventually release the Pin-Up Pale Ale, that Kamron describes as, &ldquoa really hoppy beer, which in any other country would be an IPA, but of course, it&rsquos a San Diego Pale.&rdquo He goes on to describe Mother Earth&rsquos take on a style which has become the staple of the San Diego beer market. &ldquoSan Diego Pale is basically taking a Sierra Nevada Pale Ale and amping it up to ten times the hoppiness.&rdquo Kamron continues, &ldquoWe actually use Chinook and Citra in our dry-hop, a best way to do a Pale Ale or IPA is keeping it really simple. The key to making it really great is a solid dry-hop schedule.&rdquo

In the works is "Julie Andrews", a sour that started as a big, malty, barrel-aged English Old Ale. Also look for a new Berliner-Weisse, a collaboration with Lee Chase&rsquos Automatic Brewing Company. Another treat is The Cruicible, a 7.2% ABV Black Double IPA, swirling with tropical fruit aromas of hops and white labs yeast. A dark and stormy concoction that's a balanced blend of sweet, fruity and bitter.


Travis Smith, brewmaster and co-founder of Societe Brew Co. in the barrel room.

Societe Brewing Company

Arriving at the Societe Brewing Company in San Diego is like being transported into a 19th century daguerreotype. The exterior is adorned with crawling hop vines, and the interior evokes an old-timey apothecary vibe. Rustic wooden furniture and bar conjures up images of the past, with silhouettes of folksy images and archetypical characters covering the walls. And yet, the shimmering new metal equipment and bar accoutrements bring you right back to the 21st century.

&ldquoSociete is about beer&rsquos place in society. It should be a cornerstone. It brings people together across economic boundaries, and so on. Look at the bar on any given day and there will be a dentist with a six-figure income sitting next to a guy that serves fast food. They&rsquore both drinking and enjoying beer. It only matters that they&rsquore drinking beer, nothing else matters. Beer is the social unifier. And the names of our beers are all different aspects of society taken from a nineteenth century standpoint,&rdquo says Travis Smith, co-founder and brew master of Societe Brewing Company. Travis studied the art of brewing under the legendary Vinnie Cilurzo, owner and head brewer of Russian River Brewing Company in Santa Rosa, California. It was here that Smith acquired the knowledge of sour barrel-aging and perfectly balanced IPAs. Co-founder of Societe and Smith&rsquos brewing partner, Doug Constantiner also has vast experience making exceptional wood-aged beers through his time at the Bruery, a famous Orange County producer. The prominent brewing lineage of both Smith and Constantiner has beer fans salivating for a taste.


Societe Brew Co&rsquos vast new brewery and apothecary-style bar.

&ldquoExpectations don&rsquot matter. The whole goal is to make a beer we want to drink, and if we like it, other people will too,&rdquo says Smith. Recently opened to the public, Smith feels that the state-of-the-art tasting room is important to attract customers and helps support the brewery. As of now, Societe is self-distributing to the awesome beer bars in the San Diego area that want to share Societe&rsquos product with their clientele. Societe has promised to never be a national brand, ever. They eventually want to go across state lines, possibly to only three or four states. The ample space inside the brewery will provide plenty of room for organic growth in the future. If you can, get a sip of The Apprentice, a 7.6% ABV American IPA, loaded with citrusy grapefruit flavors and hop residues that linger forever. Or try The Harlot, a 6.4% ABV Belgian Golden Ale, with spicy undertones that remains relatively dry and smooth throughout. Beer freaks and geeks should be on the look out for Societe's sour barrel-aged beer bottle releases in the future.

Societe Brewing Company- 8262 Clairemont Mesa Boulevard, San Diego, CA


Stone World Bistro and Tasting Garden.

Stone Brewing Company

Greg Koch and Steve Wagner started the Stone Brewing Company in San Marcos, California at the location that now hosts Port Brewing/Lost Abbey. Since the doors opened in 1996, the duo has increased sales exponentially every year and pushed their brand image and beer to epic proportions. In 2005, Stone moved into a bigger facility in Escondido, and in 2006 opened the Stone Brewing World Bistro and Gardens. Stone Brewing Co. is currently ranked the 11th largest craft brewery in the United States and distributes to 36 states, as well as places in Europe and Asia. Stone continues to grow, and has plans to open a brewery in Europe for overseas Stone fanatics, and a bunch of new places in the U.S. Some of these ventures include a Stone Hotel, a Stone catering enterprise and new Stone Liberty Station World Bistro & Garden. Mitch Steele was hired in 2006, a former Anheiser-Busch employee and avid craft beer fan who continues to propel Stone&rsquos vision ever forward.

With a reputation for high quality beer and a bad-ass brewing facility, the brewery has been heaped with award-winning recipes and fancy honors galore. Greg Koch was even knighted by the Belgian Brewers Federation in 2010. Stone Brewing Co. also strives to give back to the community both monetarily and environmentally with sustainable business practices and charity fundraisers. Usually playing host for these special Stone events is their one-acre beer garden, voted as one of the top beer places in the world, featuring 32 taps and over 100 different bottles. The food served in this establishment focuses on local, small-farm, organic produce and natural ingredients, and is the #1 restaurant purchaser of those products in all of San Diego.


Stone Brewing tasting room.

The superb quality beers place a high emphasis on hop-forward ales. One of the head brewers' Mitch Steele&rsquos first job when he joined the team was to revamp the Levitation Ale recipe. Nowadays the Stone Levitation Ale is a hoppy amber ale, with a rich malty back and citrusy undertones. Mitch Steele also created the Sublimely Self-Righteous Ale as the 11th Anniversary release a number of years ago-- a benchmark for piney, Black IPAs. Stone also boasts a series of collaboration ales, which pairs members of their brew team with brewers from around the globe to create new masterpieces. There are about 16 of these releases, starting with Mint Chocolate Imperial Stout as one of the most recent. Working with Ken Schmidt of Aloha Plenty Brewing Company (in Hawaii), and Brandon Sieminski of Iron Fist Brewing Company (another San Diego brewery), Mitch Steele created a 9.6% abv delight for dessert enthusiasts. It's almost like scooping a dab of mint ice cream onto a piece of rich chocolate cake and hitting blend-- very drinkable for such a novel idea.

Stone&rsquos idea of good beer usually includes a lot of hops. Enjoy By IPA, a piney, citrus bomb, indicates batch dates on the label title. This date refers to the small window of opportunity to enjoy the ultimate flavors of the IPA while the hops taste their absolute freshest.

Stone Brewing Company- 1999 Citracado Pkwy, Escondido, CA

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SD Distillers Guild creates 10K+ gallons of hand sanitizer

VIA PRESS RELEASE (San Diego, Calif.) April 28, 2020 – In support of its San Diego community and frontline workers near and far during the COVID-19 crisis, the San Diego Distillers Guild announces a multi-member initiative that has seen more than a dozen San Diego craft distilleries switching operations to produce large quantities of hand sanitizer in lieu of artisanal spirits. As produced, Guild member distilleries have and continue to supply thousands of gallons to first responders and those on the frontline, while distributing free and low-cost hand sanitizer to the public during a time when demand for the product has risen exponentially.

“The last several weeks have been nothing short of extraordinary for our small but mighty distilling community here in San Diego. The combined efforts of our member distilleries have impacted and greatly benefited virtually every corner of California and beyond. The story that will be told of this effort is one for the ages, and we can’t wait to tell it,” said Geoff Longenecker, President of the San Diego Distillers Guild and founder of Seven Caves Spirits, a Miramar distillery that has so far produced more than 6,000 gallons of sanitizer in an equal-parts effort with fellow Guild member Liberty Call Distilling.

To date, Guild members have produced and then donated or sold more than 10,000 gallons of sanitizer to agencies and organizations such as the City of San Diego, United States Postal Service, UPS, the US Navy (including the USS Portland, USS Pearl Harbor, and USS Independence), the City of Los Angeles, and Amazon, as well as most local police and fire departments, banks and credit unions, grocery stores, hospice and healthcare workers, and civic organizations locally and as far away as Texas and Hawaii.

Many members have also made simultaneous efforts to distribute hand sanitizer to the public, often with no purchase required. Several pop-up sanitizer giveaways have and continue to happen around the county, with people lining up six feet apart to receive a bottle for personal use. While distributed on a first come first serve basis, Guild members have yet to run out of hand sanitizer and together are continuing production to steel against possible future shortages caused by the outbreak of COVID-19.

“This has been a crazy run. Six weeks ago we were trying to open a new tasting room, and now we’re making thousands of gallons of sanitizer with Seven Caves Spirits. I would have never in a million years seen that pivot coming,” said Bill Rogers, Treasurer of the San Diego Distillers Guild and founder of Liberty Call Distilling with locations in Spring Valley and Barrio Logan.

The San Diego Distillers Guild has created a webpage listing members currently making sanitizer, with contact information provided for each craft distillery, at www.sddistillers.com/handSaniProducers. In addition to hand sanitizer, several distilleries with kitchens also remain open for takeout of food and spirits interested parties are encouraged to contact each directly to confirm hours and availability.

About San Diego Distillers Guild: Established in 2014, the San Diego Distillers Guild promotes artisanal distilled spirits production in San Diego County through pursuing a two-fold mission including (1) raising the public’s awareness about the quality and uniqueness of spirits created via craft distillation and (2) serving as an educational and networking resource for those interested in craft spirit production throughout San Diego and the United States. Learn more at www.sddistillers.com and socialize on Facebook and on Instagram at @sddistillersguild.

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Watch the video: Irish People Taste Test Craft Beer (December 2021).