Dan Love is co-owner of Mother Earth Brew Co. in Vista.
Mother Earth and Pizza Port Solana Beach head brewer Devon Randall are introducing a collaboration IPA today at Pizza Port Bressi Ranch. What brought you together?
We were at the Bressi Ranch soft launch and (Mother Earth co-owner) Kamron (Khannakhjavani) mentioned to Vince (Marsaglia) that we’d love to do a collaboration to help them produce beer as they get up and running. It’s called The Cru — named for the two crews who brewed it and Pizza Port’s yeast, which is called La Cruda. We used a combination of Columbus, Cascade, Amarillo and Chinook. On the nose it’s like a punch in the mouth full of grapefruit, but it’s very refined. It doesn’t have a harsh bite to it. It’s smooth. And the wheat malt gives it body and nice lacing on the glass.
Vista is now the largest beer city per capita in the U.S. What is it about this North County city that is so appealing to brewers?
We have a great relationship with the city and its willingness to reach out to brewery business and say, “You’re welcome here.” They support us in their planning department, in their permitting department, they do it in a lot of different ways. Now, if we could just eliminate some of the red tape from the ABC (California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control), we would be able to do a lot more creative things to introduce people to craft beer.
There isn’t much love lost between many breweries and the ABC? What’s your beef?
The ABC is so antiquated in dealing with laws that are so old that they just can’t get out of their own way. When you get your license to open a brewery, the ABC doesn’t tell you anything that’s related to the law. When you ask for a manual of do’s and don’ts, they say they will never provide one because they’re worried that someone will interpret it differently than the way it should be interpreted and they might get sued. It’s ridiculous. They should be getting on board with this great industry that has generated $22 billion in revenue for California and 20,000 employees. Stop slowing it down.
Mother Earth is known for its hop-forward beers such as Kismet IPA and Hop Diggity DIPA, but Cali’ Creamin’, a vanilla cream ale, is your second-best selling beer. What do your customers love about it?
It’s very approachable. It’s light, refreshing and low in alcohol. Plus it has a friendly name and the bottle has a classic surf logo. You won’t taste this beer and make a face.
You are planning to produce 5,000 barrels this year, a far cry from when Mother Earth first started back in 2010. What’s in your future?
I remember when my wife, Errin, asked what my vision was when we first started, and I couldn’t answer her because I didn’t know where we were going. But the help we received from Lee Chase, Tomme Arthur and so many other people made us realize where we fit in in this industry. And once we started bottling and the great feedback we received, the light bulb went off and we realized this wasn’t just a hobby anymore. We have a 20-barrel system now and we’ll do 5,000 barrels this year and next year will be at 11,000. In 2015 we’re planning on 16,000. We’re also considering a canning line to go along with our bottling line. All of this was unfathomable when we first started. But the bus is moving fast right now and we have everyone in the right seat.