Few small breweries have dared to be as different from the get-go as Toolbox Brewing. When the Vista business opened in 2014, its owners, Amanda Elder and Spencer Peters, aimed to operate a 100% wild operation. To help with that daunting task, they brought on a homebrewer with a passion and skillset in that area, Peter Perrecone. Despite little professional experience and a difficult mission, Toolbox generated great buzz early on, making its way into national publications with mentions of its masterful sour beers. But a series of unfortunate events over the past three years ultimately proved too difficult to overcome, leading to Elder’s and Peters’ announcement earlier today that Toolbox will be closing.
“Nobody wants to write this letter. It is not an easy thing to do, to put into words how you truly feel about a situation. But, here we are. And it is with great sadness that we have to announce that Toolbox is closing,” they wrote on the company’s Facebook page. “We have invested a lifetime of savings, blood, sweat and tears into Toolbox. We have fought the good fight but there comes a time to move on and accept your wins and losses graciously.”
After its initial success, the company parted ways with Perrecone in August 2015. He has since gone on to head the barrel-aged beer program for Oceanside-based Belching Beaver Brewery. It seemed a tough blow to absorb, losing a specialist in a very specialized field, but good fortune smiled on Elder and Peters, who were able to find a replacement who proved to be not only able to step in but exceptional at the task of crafting wild ales. That individual was Ehren Schmidt and he allowed Toolbox to continue to rack up accolades with beer media and local fans alike. But his time with the company was short-lived, as he accepted a job offer from Denmark-based, worldwide brewing interest Mikkeller last July to head beer production at an oak-aging facility in Copenhagen. What followed was a shift in gears for Toolbox to make trendier beers (with a bent toward rotating milkshake IPAs), and can them along with staples from their portfolio.
While attempts to keep the business profitable were not ultimately successful, the company maintained a following of people who cared about it and its beers. To them, Elder and Peters say, “For those of you that would like to come by and maybe enjoy a beer or two with us, we will be open this weekend during normal tasting room hours. We will officially close the doors at 6 p.m., Sunday, October 14.”
Business hours for this weekend are 3 to 9 p.m. today, 12 to 9 p.m. Saturday and 12 to 6 p.m. Sunday. Toolbox Brewing is located at 1495 Poinsettia Avenue, #148.