Affection and expansion for Creative Creature

An El Cajon brewery has unique Valentine's gifts and a soon-to-open tasting room

In 2018, entrepreneur Derek Carnation signed on to take over a brewery built into URBN Coal-fired Pizza’s El Cajon location. The facility had previously been used by its parent-company-turned-landlord to produce house beers for its restaurants under the handle URBN St. Brewery, but after two years of struggling to make the operation work it was shut down.

Carnation’s Creative Creature Brewing, a smaller operation offering modern-to-the-point-of-outlandish beers, has fared better, enough that the company entered into a contract-brewing agreement with San Marcos’ Stumblefoot Brewing several years back. That move allowed Creative Creature to produce enough beer to meet rising demand.

After Stumblefoot went out of business in 2022, Carnation opted to take over its 5,000-square-foot facility and shift primary brewing of Creative Creature’s beers to that location. Thus far, it has remained a business locale utilized exclusively for production purposes, but it will soon include a public tasting room.

“North County is like its own metropolis,” says Carnation. “Most people up there don’t head south often, so this will allow us to create a community bond with San Elijo Hills and the surrounding neighborhoods.”

Carnation says he hopes to introduce a vibe that’s unlike any other brewery in the area and speaks to the business’ unique family of beers. He intends to lean heavily on Creative Creature’s colorful motif, which combines elements of urban, graffiti and comic-book art. The primary design pieces conveying that signature aesthetic will be murals painted by local artists Nick Boyd and Nick McPherson (pictured above).

“We’ll have an open warehouse vibe with eight taps and canned beer sold to-go initially,” says Carnation. “There will be room for indoor cornhole and enough space to accommodate a larger party.”

His sights are trained on a late-spring or early-summer opening date for Creative Creature’s, but in the near term he has something fun worked up for fans—and lovebirds—in honor of Valentine’s Day.

From now through February 9, customers can purchase a mixed-case of 24 beers with templatized Valentine’s-inspired can art. The labels will feature frames for inserting photos of one’s Valentine (as well as themselves or a nice couple shot) and a space for entering a custom beer name (e.g., “You Make Me So Hoppy”). The three styles of beer available via this promotion are a blonde ale, amber ale and piney, tropical hazy IPA.

The idea stemmed from the idea of creating a his-and-hers case of beer. “We wanted to do something personal and everlasting,” says Carnation. “And who doesn’t want to be on a beer can?”

Beers can be ordered online and will be available for pickup at Creative Creature’s El Cajon location no later than Monday, February 13.

Creative Creature Brewing is located at 110 North Magnolia Avenue in El Cajon, and its North County tasting room is located at 1784 La Costa Meadows Drive in San Marcos

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