It’s safe to say that breweries tend to fall into two different categories. There are the explosive growers that always seem to be filling every square inch of production space with fermenters and other shiny new toys, and there are the more conservative companies that take a gradual approach towards expansion. Miramar’s AleSmith Brewing Company fits solidly in that more-restrained cadre, and they gave a sneak peek of their next phase of expansion when they hosted a media preview of their new tasting room on Tuesday.
While there’s no definite right or wrong way to do things, changes are more noticeable when they happen to the more conservative bunch. Peter Zien, CEO and owner of AleSmith embodies that dedication to picking one thing and doing it well, a quality championed by philosopher Isaiah Berlin in his essay “The Hedgehog and the Fox,” and popularized in James C. Collins’ leadership tome “Good to Great.” The latter is a favorite among the AleSmith leadership team.
AleSmith’s new 105,000-square-foot production facility on AleSmith Ct. is located off of Miramar Rd. a few blocks west of the original location on Cabot Dr. Even though the new tasting room is set to open on Saturday, Head Brewer Ryan Crisp and company have actually been working on the 80-barrel German-made Krones brewhouse for a few months. The new setup is quite an upgrade over the 30-barrel system that will soon be taken over by Danish gypsy brewer Mikkeller.
Three identical copper-lined towers immediately catch your eye as you enter the new tasting room, and they rise up from behind a zigzagging marble-topped bar. Each tower houses 20 taps for a grand total for 60 individual faucets, compared to the 15 at the old location. Depending on the demands of the day, every tap can either be dedicated individually to specific beers, or doubled and tripled up to accommodate increased demand for one brew.
The layout of the room is fairly wide open right now with a handful of barrel tables with the AleSmith logo inlaid on top, and a few couches for those wanting a more comfortable sitting experience. The color scheme is evocative of the company’s official colors with orange, gunmetal and copper hues on the walls. Overall, the space is a whopping 25,000 square feet, which makes it the largest brewery tasting room in San Diego. That’s a far cry from the original facility, which featured a 750-square-foot sampling area.
Future plans for the space include a 5,000-square-foot outdoor beer garden with a fire feature, a mezzanine space, meeting rooms and a Tony Gwynn museum that honors the recently-departed San Diego Padres Hall of Famer with memorabilia from his storied career. While there’s no definite timetable for that last feature, the AleSmith team hopes to have it ready in time for the 2016 All-Star Game, which will be played at Petco Park.
For those who still wish to bid a fond adieu to the original Cabot location, time is quickly running out, as Friday is the final day for AleSmith’s operation in that facility. The official opening of the new tasting room will be on Saturday with the release party for Barrel-Aged 2014 Decadence and Brandy Barrel-Aged Old Numbskull Barleywine.