When Ballast Point Brewing announced it would be vacating its 24,000-square-foot brewing facility at 10051 Old Grove Road in Scripps Ranch last January, many within the industry wondered what company would have the production needs and distribution network required for such a large facility. With most regional breweries in possession of sufficient production capacity, and a great divide between those operations and the county’s next-largest, it was thought the eventual user of that space would be a large brewery from another region. But it turns out the Old Grove facility won’t be operated by an out-of-towner…or even a beer producer. The brewery has been acquired by hard kombucha company JuneShine. At its peak, Ballast Point produced 120,000 barrels per year at that facility.
The acquisition comes on the heels of JuneShine securing financing from an investor group thirteen strong that includes Nick Heldfond, who was an early investor in KeVita kombucha, and athletes Albee Layer, Sage Kotsenburg, Nora Vasconcellos, and Chris and Kimmy Benchetler.
“We thought of our seed financing as a way not to just raise money from traditional financial platforms, but rather to build a group of experienced professionals that believe in our vision and will join us as partners as we work towards our goal of offering a more sustainable, transparent product at scale,” said co-founder and chief creative officer Forrest Dein.
Only open since June of last year, JuneShine has come on strong, with fruit- and herb-infused varieties of its alcoholic kombucha finding homes on many tap lists throughout San Diego County and moving well out of its tasting room at North Park’s least-to-brew Brewery Igniter campus. With few competitors in this new and emerging space, JuneShine has easily risen to prominence.
Over the past seven months, Dein and co-foundering CEO Greg Serrao have added to its production team, bringing on two former Saint Archer Brewing employees, Greg Peters and Molly Ross, to serve as chief brewing officer and director of brewery operations, respectively. They also signed on with newly-established Scout Distribution, a locally-based beverage distributorship founded by ex-Saint Archer founder Josh Landan and executive Jeff Hansson. The latter helped conceive the Tusk & Grain line of barrel-aged beers which were the area of focus for Peters during his time with his previous employer.
“The Scripps Ranch facility is a historical building, a key contributor in legitimizing the craft beer industry, which also enabled Ballast Point to produce enough product to become one of the biggest private alcohol companies in the U.S.,” said Serrao. “As JuneShine seeks to increase production in great volume and also become a best-in-class leader in our product category, it became obvious that this was a timely opportunity.”
JuneShine’s North Park location will remain operative as both a production facility and public tasting room even after the Scripps Ranch facility begins producing kombucha. Dein and Serrao expect to open their second spot to the public this summer, around the time they expand distribution throughout California and beyond.
“In many ways, we are just getting started,” says Serrao. “The first thing we will do with additional product, before going anywhere, is double down on our home market. We owe only the best to our San Diego customers.”