There are few San Diego County businesses viewed to be as locally focused and engrained in their community’s fibrous being as Mother Earth Brew Co. This family-run operation started as a tiny nano-sized brewery and homebrew supply store in a single business suite measuring just over 2,000 square feet. It has since taken over most of its home-base business park, moved the recreational retail component to a large combo homebrew store and bar in the heart of Vista’s old town area, grown into a “mid-sized brewery” (per classification of industry group, the Brewers Association) with a staff of nearly 50 employees, and upped distribution to seven states. All that without leaving what has become one of the county’s densest municipalities, brewery-wise (with 11 operating brewhouses, it’s second only to the City of San Diego). But the next step in Mother Earth’s evolution will take it far from Vista—namely…Idaho?
MEBC chief branding officer Kevin Hopkins reports that the company is building a second, much larger brewery in Nampa, about 20 miles west of Boise. At first, it may seem a bit of an odd choice, constructing a second production facility so far from home, and in a part of the country that lacks a defined craft beer culture. But the decision falls in line with Mother Earth’s geographically strategic growth plan, which sees the company attempting to build out across the country in a regional manner. Idaho presents a cost-effective option with the potential for increased distribution to the Pacific Northwest and various markets where MEBC beer is not currently sold west of the Mississippi.
The Nampa facility will come in at 40,000 square feet and include room and options for expansion. A four-vessel, 40-barel Mueller brewing system will also be configured for add-ons, as needed. There will also be a public tasting room and corporate office space. Adding the second brewery should allow MEBC to double its current beer barrelage. Initially, Nampa production should mirror that of Vista—which will support distribution throughout California, Arizona and Hawaii, with remaining markets being supplied by the new brewery—but should demand justify it, the Idaho facility can ramp up so that total annual totals exceed 100,000 barrels.
Mother Earth founder and CEO Dan Love and head brewer Chris Baker will relocate to Nampa to head the new project. Back in Vista, expansion will continue until maximum capacity is reached. Hopkins estimates that will occur sometime next year. Items on the nearer horizon for the company include the release of several limited-edition beers, including a barrel-aged Belgian-style quadrupel and barrel-aged version of MEBC’s Sin Tax imperial peanut butter stout for the autumn and winter editions of its Four Seasons of Mother Earth line, plus the return of a Russian imperial stout called Quit Stalin during San Diego Beer Week.