arrow-down arrow-left arrow-right arrow-up play-button plus tab-indicator dots close menu search facebook google-plus instagram pinterest rss twitter youtube rss-two heart Check FeaturedBadge linkedin minus apps placeholder linkedin

San Diego Tasting Rooms

Lovin’ The Satellite Tasting Room Boom

San Diego has nearly 30 tasting rooms in addition to its 137+ breweries. That means, no matter where you are, you can sample a craft beer straight from the source.

By: Bruce Glassman; Author, The San Diego Brewery Guide

Fresh Brew at a Neighborhood Near You

Here's an amazing fact: San Diego has more than 140 brewery locations. That's an astounding number given the county's size and population. What's more amazing is the fact that, even with so many locations, there doesn't seem to be enough places for beer lovers to enjoy great craft beer!

In addition to all the brewery sites, San Diego has more than two dozen "satellite" tasting rooms. These tasting rooms bring beer from their main production facilities and serve it up in proprietary spaces that are sans hoses, barrels, and bulky brewing equipment.

Just as the brewery scene has exploded in recent years, so has the tasting room scene. Well, Ocean Beach is the big winner, with North Park a close second, but Barrio Logan and Miramar/Mira Mesa are coming up fast.

Tasting Rooms Are a Win for Everyone

Every brewery has its own reasons for expanding with a satellite tasting room (some have already done two or three!). Most, however, see these outlets as an effective way to increase brand exposure while maintaining control of additional distribution. Direct-to-consumer profit margins are also the most favorable for breweries, so the added cost of a tasting room can be offset by increasing production and selling more beer retail, at a better price for the brewery. Tom Vogel, founder of Belching Beaver (main production in Vista and Oceanside), was one of the first small breweries to open a satellite location. As Tom explains it, "In the beginning, we didn't have a lot of production capacity, so we had to sell to our highest margin potential. Selling beer by the glass has the best margin and the extra income allowed us to buy more equipment." A new tasting room provided a similar boost for The Lost Abbey (main production in San Marcos). Co-founder Tomme Arthur says their second location in Cardiff, called The Confessional, helped to offset some increased expenses for the production brewery in year one. "We purchased a new packaging line last fall and expect to use some of the revenue stream from the offsite space to pay for the equipment," says Tomme. "It's a win-win for us." 

Owners realize that an off-site tasting room doesn't provide visitors with the same "hands-on" experience as visiting their brewery, but most agree there are definite advantages that satellite locations have over production locations. Jacob McKean, founder of Modern Times (main production in Point Loma) says, "The satellite tasting room experience is quite different from the brewery experience. There's no production happening in our North Park tasting room, which makes the scale much smaller and more intimate." Tom Vogel likes the fact that, at his tasting room, customers aren't being "disrupted" by noise and machinery from the brewery and his patrons can enjoy a more "relaxed and casual" environment.

Tomme Arthur also likes the fact that his brewery and his tasting room provide very different experiences for Lost Abbey fans. "In San Marcos, our experience is centered on the interaction between our staff and the patrons," Tomme says. "The entire brewing process can be seen from the bar environment, which gives the patrons a chance to be immersed in the action. As an added benefit, our brewing crew is constantly milling around the tasting room and are available for conversation. Cardiff has a much smaller footprint. As such, we focused on creating an intimate space with a well-versed staff that can deliver a high level of hospitality."

Having satellite tasting locations can also be an invaluable marketing tool, especially for smaller breweries. Jacob McKean says his North Park tasting room has done wonders for the Modern Times brand. "It has helped tremendously," he says. "Besides providing a crucial source of income to a very capital-intensive business, it has made many more people familiar with us and our beer. We sell way more beer at bars and restaurants in North Park than we ever did before the tasting room opened. Familiarity is a huge factor in how people decide what beer to order."

If current expansion plans are any indication, the satellite room boom will not be slowing any time soon. Currently, new locations are slated for Liberty Station, Ocean Beach, and Sorrento Valley, with more in Barrio Logan and North Park sure to follow.

Tasting Rooms by Neighborhood

Here's the list of tasting rooms now open organized by neighborhood:

North Park

Belching Beaver North Park
Where: 4223 30th St, San Diego, CA 92104

Modern Times Flavordome
Where: 3000 Upas St, Ste 102, San Diego, CA 92104

Rip Current
Where: 4101 30th St, Ste A, San Diego, CA 92104

Chuckalek Biergarten
Where:
3139 University Ave, San Diego, CA 92104

Little Miss (Normal Heights)
Where
: 3514 Adams Ave., San Diego, CA 92104

Ocean Beach

Helm's Brewing Company Ocean Beach
Where: 4896 Newport Ave, San Diego, CA 92107
> Find out more about Helm's Brewing Company

Mike Hess Brewing Ocean Beach
Where:
4893 Voltaire St, San Diego, CA 92107
> Find out more about Mike Hess Brewing

Culture Brewing Co - Ocean Beach
Where: 4845 Newport Ave, San Diego, CA 92107

Belching Beaver
Where:
4836 Newport Ave, San Diego, CA 92107

Kilowatt Brewing
Where:
1875 Cable Street, San Diego, CA 92107

Little Miss
Where:
4861 Newport Ave, San Diego, CA 92107

Downtown/Barrio Logan

Stone Brewing Tap Room
Where: 795 J Street, San Diego, CA 92101
> Find out more about Stone Brewing Co.

Stone Company Store on Kettner
Where: 1202 Kuttner Blvd, Set 101, San Diego, CA 92101

Iron Fist Brewing - Barrio Logan
Where: 1985 National Ave, #1132, San Diego, CA 92113
> Find out more about Iron Fist Brewing

Border X Brewing
Where: 2181 Logan Ave, San Diego, CA 92113

Bolt Brewery Little Italy
Where: 1971 India St, San Diego, CA 92101

Liberty Station

Oggi's Pizza & Brew House Point Loma
Where: 2562 Laning Road, San Diego, CA 92106

Vista/Oceanside/Cardiff

Stone Company Store Oceanside
Where: 310 N. Tremont St., Oceanside, CA 92054

Mother Earth Brewing Tap Room
Where: 206 Main Street, Vista, CA 92084

Lost Abbey Confessional
Where:
2007 San Elijo Ave, Cardiff, CA 92007

Poway

Cellar 3 - Green Flash Brewing Co.
Where: 12260 Crosthwaite Cir, Poway, CA 92064
> Find out more about Green Flash Brewing Co.

Miramar/Sorrento Valley

Legacy Brewing Tap and Kitchen
Where: 7060 Miramar Rd #100, San Diego, CA 92121

Mike Hess Brewing
Where:
7955 Silverton Ave #1201, San Diego, CA 92126
> Find out more about Mike Hess Brewing

Grantville/Friar’s Road

Groundswell Brewing
Where:
6304 Riverdale St, San Diego, CA 92120

Imperial Beach

Coronado Brewing Co. Imperial Beach
Where: 875 Seacoast Dr, Imperial Beach, CA 91932
> Find out more about Coronado Brewing Co.

Find a place to stay

Book online or call 1-800-350-6205 to speak with a local expert

Related Articles and Features

Deals just for you

Accommodation

Kimpton Summer Offer

Kimpton Solamar Hotel
Valid: May 21 - ongoing

Book direct to receive 20% off our summer best available rates or join IHG Rewards to receive 25% off at Kimpton Hotel Solamar or Kimpton Hotel Palomar.

Accommodation

Kimpton Summer Offer

Kimpton Hotel Palomar San Diego
Valid: May 21 - Jul 31, 2019

Book direct to receive 20% off our summer best available rates or join IHG Rewards to receive 25% off at Kimpton Hotel Solamar or Kimpton Hotel Palomar

Accommodation

Stay Cool in the heart of the Gaslamp Quarter!

San Diego Marriott Gaslamp Quarter
Valid: Jun 1 - ongoing

Book a Summer stay at the San Diego Marriott Gaslamp Quarter! Stay Cool in the heart of the city, surrounded by restaurants, nightlife & shopping.  We’re 90 steps from PETCO Park, home...

Events to check out

Event

Comic-Con International: San Diego

Jul 18 - Jul 21, 2019

Comic-Con International is the largest comics and pop culture event in the United States, attracting thousands of artists, celebrities and fans of comic books, movie memorabilia and all things related...

Event

Supergirl Surf Pro

Jul 26 - Jul 28, 2019

The world’s top professional female surfers are back in Oceanside, CA for the 12th Supergirl Surf Pro, a 3-day event July 26-28, 2019. The weekend will be jam-packed with world-class...

Event

2019 Junior Over The Line Tournament

Jul 28, 2019

The Old Mission Beach Athletic Club (OMBAC) invites children and young adults from the ages of 5-20 to participate in the 2019 Junior Over-the-Line (OTL) Tournament. The Junior OTL Tournaments will...

Stay in touch

Sign up to receive the latest news, events, and updates about San Diego. Our monthly and weekly newsletters will keep you informed about the latest and greatest happenings in the destination.

Sign Up

Visitor planning guide

For the ultimate guide to planning your San Diego vacation, view and download the San Diego Visitor Planning Guide, packed with useful information that will help you plan the perfect San Diego getaway.

Read More

Partners

Explore

Plan

Stay

Follow Us

Language:

English | Change Language

Select your country or region

China FlagChinaGermany FlagGermanyGreat Britain FlagGreat BritainJapan FlagJapanMexico FlagMexicoKorea FlagKoreaSwitzerland FlagSwitzerlandBrazil FlagBrazilFrance FlagFranceAustralia FlagAustraliaCanada FlagCanada USA

Or use Google Translate

Afrikaans Albanian Arabic Belarusian Bulgarian Catalan Croatian Czech Danish Deutsch Español Estonian Filipino Finnish Francais Galician Greek Haitian-Creole Hebrew Hindi Hungarian Icelandic Indonesian Irish Italian Japanese Korean Latvian Lithuanian Macedonian Malay Maltese Nederlands Norwegian Persian Polish Portuguese Romanian Russian Serbian Slovak Slovenian Swahili Swedish Telugu Thai Turkish Ukranian Vietnamese Welsh Yiddish