The founding partners of La Jolla Brewing, a small brewpub in the San Diego area, are gearing up to launch a new contract brewing venture in the city.
Slated to open in December, Fighter Town Brewing LLC plans to work with and provide capacity to local, national, and international breweries that are short on space and high on demand.
The idea, partner Armando Lopez told Brewbound, was born out La Jolla Brewing’s own need for additional capacity.
“First, we just wanted to do the facility for just ourselves,” said Lopez.
In speaking with other brewers, however, the company realized they could utilize the space to help other similarly space constrained companies.
“Once we started talking to other brewers, [we realized] we’ve got the same problem you guys have,” he said. “No one wants to go out and raise money for a bigger production facility. They want to expand, but they can’t go out and do that.”
Phil Aitken, operating partner with Fighter Town and La Jolla, echoed the sentiment in a news release detailing the announcement.
“Successful craft brewers always reach a point where demand for their beers is greater than their production capacity,” he said. “But expansion is daunting for small breweries, as they consider the costs of facilities, equipment, and staffing up.”
In an effort to grow its own capacity and provide brewing space for other small brewers, Fighter Town plans to open a 41,900 sq. ft. facility in San Diego’s Sorrento Valley. The brewery will ultimately be capable of producing 200,000 barrels of beer annually, Lopez said.
Located just one mile away from the Green Flash Brewing’s Mira Mesa facility, Fighter town anticipates launching with a 30-barrel brewing system, an 8,000 sq. ft. tasting room, and the ability to keg, bottle, and can.
The project, which will cost an estimated $7 million, is being financed by a mix of traditional bank debt and equity, according to Lopez.
Aitken and Lopez were two of four founding partners who, in 2013, purchased the old La Jolla Brewhouse and rebranded it as La Jolla Brewing, per a report from Patch at the time. Lopez said all four partners are still on board to launch Fighter Town, which has simultaneously announced La Jolla as its first customer.
Fighter Town also plans operate La Jolla Brewing-branded tasting rooms, the first of which is will be located inside its new facility.
Lopez said the Fighter Town “house” brand would be La Jolla as there are no current plan to develop a Fighter Town-specific line of beers. Additionally, the company is waiting until they are closer to launching before signing any new partners, but Lopez said he foresees the company teaming up with a number of regional breweries as well as some located south of the border in Mexico — Tijuana is a mere 45-minute drive away.