Amid a glut of new brewery openings, a beer interest of more than six years quietly shuttered recently. That business is Carlsbad’s On-The-Tracks Brewery. The family-run business had soldiered on within a business park that later welcomed two other breweries—Arcana Brewing Company (opened as Fezziwig’s Brewing Company in 2012) and Guadalupe Brewery (installed inside Carlsbad Brew Supply in 2015).
This development comes on the heels of news that two San Diego County brewery owners are selling their businesses. As reported in December, Jim Crute, the owner and brewmaster at Poway’s Lightning Brewery, is actively searching for an entrepreneur interested in a turnkey-brewery opportunity. Meanwhile, the owners of San Marcos’ Stumblefoot Brewing Company have sold their six-year-old brand. The last local brewery to sell was Kearny Mesa’s Quantum Brewing, which changed hands last summer.
Some might see these news items as signs of bad times to come for local craft breweries, but I see it as a coming of age. This industry has grown by leaps and bounds over the past decade, consistently blowing beyond all estimates. No boom is eternal. At some point, every manufacturing-based industry must come down to Earth. And that’s where San Diego craft beer is. Some businesses will thrive and some will work desperately to eke out an existence. Some will fail and go out of business, and they will be replaced by new businesses or handed over to new owners. Companies shutting their doors or selling their operations is not cause for alarm. It’s simply how business is done.