Currently, San Diego County’s only communal brewery operations are the Brewery Igniter facilities constructed by developer H.G. Fenton in Miramar, North Park and Carlsbad. A fourth Brewery Igniter campus is in the works in Oceanside, as well, but like its predecessors, it will operate on a purposely temporary lease-to-brew basis. Further inland, along State Route 78 in Vista, a group of entrepreneurs are taking the collective concept to locally uncharted territory, constructing a concept dubbed the Co-Lab that will bind three brewery clients together in a shared facility on a more permanent basis.
The Co-Lab project team has closed escrow on one of the 11 buildings in the expansive retail complex on Industrial Court next to the building currently housing Indian Joe Brewing. (That interest formerly occupied space within the Co-Lab’s structure but recently vacated it.) The City of Vista’s traditionally brewer-friendly nature and quality water-pricing by the Vista Irrigation District led the Co-Lab team to the North County municipality, while visibility to the 130,000 cars that pass by daily sold them on the individual site. Now, they’ll look to sell potential tenants on those same enticers.
“The concept as we envision it will consist of three brewers, one winery, and one restaurant within the building,” says Co-Lab co-founder Joe Deutsch, an industrial building and specialty retail developer of forty-plus years. “Initially, the concept was designed as an alternative to brewers stuck in the back of low-traffic industrial parks, who inevitably struggle with sales due to their remote locations. Visibility is paramount to sales and clustering brewers together for affordable costs will drive those sales further. However, now we know that almost everyone can benefit from this high-traffic location. Everything in the project is devoted to driving maximum brewery sales in the spacious taproom and patio areas.”
Deutsch says the site, which is equipped with 18-foot ceilings, can be flexibly divided to accommodate different tenant requirements. The overall allocation of space includes a 2,691-square-foot shared taproom, 805-square-foot patio, 1,525-square-foot mezzanine, 450-square-foot kitchen, and 1,000-square-feet of additional common area and circulation space. The remaining 4,385 square feet is for equipment-ready brewery and winery production units, all of which will operate independently with separately-metered utilities.
Deutsch says this concept will be well suited to start-ups, existing breweries looking to expand, out-of-region brewers looking to expand their footprint, and new-concept locations for existing breweries, such as satellites devoted to barrel programs. Rent for Co-Lab units will register around $4,000 per month, and sign-off will be required by all existing tenants before a new brewery comes aboard.
“We realize that what we are creating is a disruption to the current system, however, we believe that access to major brewery amenities for smaller brewers, at a very reasonable cost with minimal investment, is the most effective way to grow a brand while making maximum sales dollars from that investment,” says Deutsch. “The more locations a brand has, the greater the brand awareness and the greater the opportunities for sales. If a brewer wants to expand to a new location, we’ll be there to create the environment to assure their success.”
Co-Lab will be located at 2129 Industrial Court. Deutsch says his team is in talks with about a dozen breweries throughout Southern California, but no leases have yet been signed. He invites interested parties to contact him via email or email real-estate brokers at Cushman & Wakefield.