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Breweries Are Looking to Expand to San Diego’s Beer Deserts

Societe and Sunny Grove will bring craft selections to Old Town, Lemon Grove, and beyond
Courtesy of Booze Brothers
Booze Brothers - beer deserts

Booze Brothers opened their Fallbrook taproom at The Mill in Fallbrook, which for now is the only taproom in the semi-rural part of North County

Courtesy of Booze Brothers

San Diego has a ridiculous amount of craft beer, it’s true. But look a little closer, and the vast majority of San Diego’s 150-plus craft breweries are found in just a handful of places. Outside of drinking hubs like North Park, Miramar, and Vista, as well as up-and-comers like Oceanside or Chula Vista, there are still plenty of places where few breweries exist. Some even have none at all.

Towns like Lakeside, Fallbrook, and Lemon Grove have just one brewery apiece, while others like Spring Valley and Rancho Santa Fe have none. Del Mar, Alpine, and Julian have a couple between them, and San Diego neighborhoods like Encanto, Tierrasanta, and Clairemont remain craft beer deserts.

But some established breweries like Societe Brewing Company and Booze Brothers Brewing Company see these communities as opportunities, not obstacles.

Booze Brothers opened their Fallbrook taproom in 2021, and it remains the only taproom in the semi-rural area. “We want to create a cool environment where locals can come gather and drink good craft beer,” says David Firth, Booze Brothers cofounder. “If competition moves into town, we will welcome them with open arms.”

Societe also plans to expand from their single Kearny Mesa taproom and production facility to Old Town, where, surprisingly, there’s never been a brewery.

Societe founder and CEO Doug Constantiner explains that they began searching for a second location as early as 2014, and the priority has always been “to find the space in an area that had an existing customer base, even if that wasn’t necessarily specific to beer.” As a convenient hub for tourists and locals alike, he believes Old Town is more than ready for its first brewery. Phase one of their build-out is slated to open late this year, with a larger second phase opening sometime in 2023.

Brand-new breweries are also betting on areas where competition is limited. When Sunny Grove Brewing Company opens later this year, it will be Lemon Grove’s second (after 13 Point Brewing Company). As a resident of nearby La Mesa, which has only three, Sunny Grove co-owner and brewer Scott Christian says it was important for him and his wife and business partner, Tessa, to bring more craft beer to their community.

“During our search for the right location, we focused on the Lemon Grove, La Mesa, Spring Valley, and Casa de Oro areas mainly because of how underserved those communities are,” Scott says. “We’re hopeful that having more than one brewery option in the area will bring new customers from other communities who may not venture out for a single location.”

It’s undoubtedly risky to be the first and only, especially when it comes to craft beer, but Firth says seeing the “warm response” from thirsty locals makes it worth it: “[The] most rewarding successes in life are often the hardest.”

By Beth Demmon

Beth Demmon is an award-winning writer and podcaster whose work regularly appears in national outlets and San Diego Magazine. Her first book, The Beer Lover's Guide to Cider, is now available. Find out more on

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