Help California wildfire victims

Battle brewing in Encinitas over new tasting room

ENCINITAS, Calif. -- San Diego is already craft beer capitol of the United States, but America’s finest city has recently tapped into a new trend: tasting rooms.

The establishments are essentially beer bars. No wine, no food, no liquor. It’s a way for growing breweries to tap into an untapped neighborhood.

On Thursday night, the Encinitas Planning Commission gave the green light to Saint Archer Brewery to install a tasting room in Leucadia in the space between Surfy Surfy Surf Shop and the Regal Seagull.

“This area is over-saturated. Obviously, we’ve benefited from it but at the end of the day there’s a limit to everything,” said Patrick Fagan with Regal Seagull.

Saint Archer will be the first satellite venue from the macro-beer interest, which was purchased by MillerCoors two years ago.

“I’m not opposed to it…but big outside companies coming in, I can see how you can lose your local luster,” said TC Whaley with Surfy Surfy.

There is a vocal percentage of Encinitas citizens who are concerned that their city, particularly the commercial stretch of Coast Highway in the downtown core, already has enough booze.

“We already have three establishments that sell alcohol. This will be No. 4 in a one-block area,” said one resident.

In a matter of just eight blocks, there are 14 liquor licenses.

Those with the project argue the tasting room adds to creating community and the owners are first and foremost local to North County.

“This is our home and so it’s really meaningful to us that we protect this town and give back,” said Kent Kreutzer with Saint Archer.

It’s not just Encinitas. Kensington, Bay Park and Shelter Island will also see the most tasting rooms this year.