In November of 2018, Wyoming-based Melvin Brewing opened a brewpub in downtown San Diego’s East Village area. Outfitted in Melvin’s kung-fu movie meets Wu Tang Clan meets stainless steel motif, the venue offered the interest’s largely hoppy family of beers augmented by diverse, often-creative styles devised by on-site brewer Bobby Oliver. Today, Oliver and his coworkers were informed that Melvin is closing its East Village brewpub effective immediately.
From the get-go, the East Village outpost faced unique challenges. As staff readied the venue for its debut, Melvin was coming off a public-relations crisis sparked by sexual-misconduct allegations levied against a former employee. Other non-controversial challenges included nearly invisible signage obscured by trees protected by the City of San Diego and a high level of competition likely unexpected when Melvin founder Jeremy Tofte and company selected their project site.
Located at the corner of 14th and Market Streets, Melvin’s East Village brewpub was part of the boom that saw numerous brewery-owned venues—Duck Foot Brewing, Little Miss Brewing, Amplified Ale Works—open in that emerging neighborhood in less than a year. Such a rapid increase in competitive ventures coupled with a slow baseball season and other factors have made it difficult for those businesses to maintain the level of profitability necessary to wait out East Village’s long-lead emergence into a full-blown epicenter for locally backed commerce. In addition to the aforementioned breweries, East Village is also home to numerous bars (including Quartyard across the street from Melvin) and restaurants serving craft beer and other competing beverages.