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INCOMING: SD Brew Project

San Diego's first all-local craft beer bar going into 57 Degrees

By Troy Johnson

It’s one of those “How has this not happened already?” ideas.

In three weeks, 57 Degrees will become the first bar in San Diego to offer exclusively local craft beers on tap (not counting places that have just a couple tap handles). We’re talking 28 local brews, from the biggies (Stone, Ballast Point, Green Flash) to little guys (Indian Joe Brewing in Vista, etc.).

The concept is called SD Brew Project, the brainchild of locals Beau Schmitt and Kyle Chaykowski. It basically splits 57 Degrees—a huge, 10,000 square-foot space—into two concepts, working in unison. 57 Degrees owner Russ Kindom had been looking for a partner to fill out the room. Schmitt and Chaykowski had been looking to open their own craft beer bar in East Village.

“After looking at the prices on licensing and build-out, we decided not to do it,” says Schmitt. “So we partnered with Russ. He’ll do wine and we’ll do beer. We’re renovating the central bar and opening the southwest wall with two garage doors so you can view the skyline and airport. You can literally see the smoke from the tires as they hit the runway.”

An idea like this wouldn’t work in most cities. But San Diego squats out another craft brewery every couple days. In terms of American craft beer, this city is the mother ship. “Every ounce of beer served will be local,” says Schmitt.

And every tap will be dedicated to a different brewery. Theyll be selling the beer for consumption on premise, as well as 22-oz. bottles to go. SD Brew Project is currently working with 35 local breweries. The tough part of their business plan will be getting the smaller brewers to deliver product, since many don’t have distribution systems in place like Stone, Ballast Point and Green Flash.

“People travel to San Diego just for the beer. We want to be a really central, reliable hub where people can try a ton of the craft beers on tap,” he says. “We’ll drive traffic to those breweries, with cards that give directions to each.”

Schmitt’s a regular at the Tap Room, and a fan of craft bars like Blind Lady Ale House and Hamiton’s. But he and Chaykowski are finance guys, not brewers. “I tried homebrewing once,” he says. “I’m pretty sure I brewed urine. Why do it when there are so many other people doing it better?”

The duo also worked with AP Precision Metal in Chula Vista for custom steel tasting flights that’ll hold 5, 4-oz. clear tasting glasses. They’ll host food trucks on Fridays, and look to set up 57 Degrees as an events space that holds between 500-550 people. One half wine, one half all local brew.

“The girls we know love going to 57 Degrees—go there on a packed night and it’s 70 women and 10 guys,” says Schmitt. “Now, there will be local craft beer on tap.”

To follow progress, check SD Brew Project’s website and follow them on Twitter.


AleSmith Brewing Co., Aztec Brewing Co., Belching Beaver Brewery, Breakwater Brewing Co., Ballast Point Brewing Co., Coronado Brewing Co., Green Flash Brewing Co., Helms Brewing Co., Hess Brewing, Hillcrest Brewing Co., Indian Joe Brewing, Iron Fist Brewing Co., Karl Strauss Brewing Co., Latitude 33 Brewing Co, Lightning Brewery, The Lost Abbey Brewery, Mad Lab Craft Brewing, Manzanita Brewing Co.Mission Brewery, Mother Earth Brew Co.New English Brewing Co.Oceanside Ale Works, Offbeat Brewing Co.On-The-Tracks Brewery, Poor House Brewing Co., Port Brewing Co., Prohibition Brewing Co., Rough Draft Brewing Co., Stone Brewing Co., Stumblefoot Brewing Co., Wet ‘N Reckless Brewing… more to come.

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