Karl Strauss expands its brews north
by Loralee Olejnik
Jul 18, 2012 | 4884 views | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print

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Big plans are brewing at Karl Strauss for 2012 as the brewery prepares to launch a new restaurant in 4S Ranch, add equipment and a tasting room to the Pacific Beach location and gear up to launch distribution into Northern California.

“In the last five years the craft brewing scene has been exploding,” said Melody Daversa, spokesperson for Karl Strauss Brewing Company (KSBC). “Expansion is the theme for 2012.”

The 4S Ranch location — Karl Strauss’ seventh brewery restaurant — is slated for a soft opening at the end of July and will be the first new brewery restaurant in a decade for KSBC. Designed by architect Walt Conwell and built by Good and Roberts Contractors, the new location, Daversa said, will be the company’s “shining star” and will strive to be a community gathering spot, with features like a fire pit, 27-seat bar and community tables — good for large groups or for meeting new people — encouraging visitors to come often. 

“In addition to having a great dinner or lunch, we want it to be a great place to congregate,” said Daversa. 

The 4S brewery restaurant will have 10 beers on tap with one beer brewed on location. The goal of the restaurant is to brew 200 barrels a year — a new beer each month — with a brewer specifically dedicated to 4S.

At roughly 6,500 square feet with a seating capacity of 250, the restaurant is designed to resemble a metro loft brewery, featuring ample concrete, reclaimed wood and garage windows. One hundred new employees will be added to the company with the opening, putting the KSBC workforce at 500 and growing.

The next project in the pipeline for KSBC is a revamp of the Pacific Beach main brewery, located on Santa Fe Street. Primarily used for brewing operations, administrative headquarters and an occasional festival event, plans are to make the location more open to the public. To transition into a beer destination, KSBC will add a tasting room, a beer garden with a wood-fired oven and a food truck dock, providing the infrastructure for tours and aiming to become a year-round gathering spot, with project completion slated for the fall or winter.

With added capacity from beefing up the Pacific Beach location with more brewing equipment, KSBC also gained the capacity to start bottling its Windansea Wheat, a Bavarian hefeweizen named after the iconic San Diego surf spot. Bearing a beach label design, the beer had been available on tap for some time, but can now be purchased at retail locations, adding to the brewery’s lineup of award-winning mainstay beers.

With the new brewery expansion, KSBC is also forging into new frontiers with added capacity creating the opportunity to launch distribution into the Northern California market.

Started in 1989 by founders Chris Cramer and Matt Rattner, KSBC was named for Cramer’s cousin, master brewer Karl Strauss, who was brought in to guide brewing operations. The first location was located downtown in the Core Columbia district and was ground zero for the San Diego craft brew renaissance.

The business has since grown to include additional brewery restaurants, including a brewery gardens in Sorrento Mesa, a Carlsbad location and two locations in Orange County. Last year, KSBC completed a major remodel of its La Jolla Village restaurant.

In 1996, KSBC purchased the Pacific Beach brewery where most of the production takes place. In 2011, about 44,000 barrels were distributed to thousands of locations across Southern California.

The 4S Ranch brewery is located at 10448 Reserve Road. For more information, visit www.karlstrauss.com.

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