Thanks in large part to determined entrepreneurs who call Chula Vista home, the city has outgrown the 2010s-era hashtag, #SouthBayUprising, which signaled the embedding of a craft-beer culture in San Diego County’s southernmost municipalities. The South Bay has risen to include a total of 15 breweries and brewing company satellite venues, with the greatest concentration located on downtown Chula Vista’s main drag, Third Avenue.
That thoroughfare is home to three brewery-owned venues…on a single block. But before any of them arrived on the scene, a beer-centric watering hole made the case for craft suds. That bar went by the name of Third Avenue Alehouse and was the site of many Chula Vistans’ introduction to quality craft ales and lagers, many of which were forged by San Diego County breweries.
Third Avenue Ale House closed last year after over a decade in business, leaving a palpable hole and a vacancy local beer fans hoped would be filled by a similar business. Those wishes were recently fulfilled when a brewing company based in Downtown San Diego signed a lease on the 1,785-square-foot property, taking it over to install its first-ever satellite tasting room. That operation is Resident Brewing.
Opened in 2016 by entrepreneur James Langley and his brother-in-law, award-winning homebrewer Robert Masterson, Resident has accomplished something other brewing operations that took up residence in downtown’s Gaslamp Quarter have failed to do – remain in business. To the contrary, the company has struggled to produce enough beer to meet demand almost from day one. That production shortfall has resulted in Resident partnering with other local breweries to produce their top-selling beers on a contract basis. It has also sent ownership on a search for a project site capable of housing a larger production operation or a turnkey brewery they can take over to serve as the company’s headquarters or a secondary, supplementary brewing facility.
Resident’s search has taken place for roughly half-a-decade and, though it has been wide-ranging, it has largely been focused on San Diego’s North County, where industrially zoned space is more plentiful and also more affordable. In 2020, the company came close to acquiring a large brewery and tasting room that had been vacated by Vista’s Iron Fist Brewing, but the deal fell through, leading to Pure Project Brewing taking over the facility. Other opportunities have arisen since then, but finding a larger production facility continues to prove elusive.
While opening Resident’s first-ever satellite location will not result in additional production capacity, management sees not only the demand for craft beer in downtown Chula Vista, but also the area’s potential to become even more. Adding to the allure of expanding to the South Bay are positive relationships Resident has with new Third Avenue neighbors at 3 Punk Ales Brewing, Chula Vista Brewery and Groundswell Brewing.
There is no firm timeline for the debut of Resident’s Chula Vista tasting room, but management is eager to convert the pace to reflect its brand, which is currently undergoing an update. In doing so, the company’s staffers will be rolling up their sleeves to renovate the unit and make it their own. That work will include developing an on-site food option future patrons can rely on.