In 2016, Vista-based Barrel Harbor Brewing opened a joint-venture tasting room in Miramar with a table-top gaming enterprise called At Ease Games. That venture hobbled along unsuccessfully for two-and-a-half years before closing in March. Owner Tim St. Martin pulled out in an effort to save his overall business, but that step wasn’t enough. Last night, St. Martin emailed Barrel Harbor’s newsletter subscribers to inform them of his business’ abrupt closure following suspension of its license by the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC).
“After many months of trying to keep things afloat, the debt load from the Miramar tasting room was just too much for me to bear on my own,” said St. Martin. “The Vista tasting room has not been generating enough revenue to cover its load and make payments on the debt from opening and operating Miramar at a loss for 2.5 years.”
St. Martin says Barrel Harbor’s closure is “indefinite”. Back taxes incited the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration to request the ABC suspend Barrel Harbor’s license. St. Martin says that if he is able to get caught up with moneys owed to the State, he can reopen, but admits the chances of that are slim given the fact he is no longer able to generate revenue through the business.
Barrel Harbor has historically struggled from a financial standpoint. In 2018, St. Martin sought investors through an online crowdfunding campaign with a goal of raising $100,000 to $250,000. That effort was unsuccessful. This July, he initiated another crowdfunding campaign hoping to raise $50,000. It also failed, garnering just $3,832.
“I am still trying to work some magic, but for now I fear that this may be farewell,” said St. Martin. “I have said this before and it means even more now, ‘please send me an angel.’”