Rouleur to brew at Draft Republic

Fast-growing Carlsbad company to lease San Marcos facility, contract-brew for Cohn Restaurant Group and others

In 2018, San Diego’s largest hospitality operation, the Cohn Restaurant Group (CRG), acquired a 25,000-square-foot, indoor-outdoor space in La Mesa in which to install Draft Republic Brewing (DRBC). The site had originally been slated to house a combo restaurant, brewery and distillery dubbed Depot Springs Beer Co., but that operation never came to fruition. Neither did DRBC, at least not in that space.

Last summer, CRG selected a new home for their brewing project, taking over the 28,000-square-foot Urge Common House brewpub in the North City mixed-use development abutting California State University, San Marcos. Before shuttering in 2020, that facility had been operated by 3 Local Brothers restaurant group and used to brew the beers of its craft-brewing arm Mason Ale Works. 3LB continued to brew after the restaurant closed but has since moved production to TAPS Brewery in Tustin, leaving the San Marcos brewing facility vacant.

While CRG’s original plan had been to hire brewery staff and produce beers under the DRBC brand, in recent months the company has been in search of a brewing company to lease the brewery to; one in need of additional manufacturing space that would also be up to the task of contract-brewing beers for CRG’s Draft Republic locations as well as its other restaurants. Today, it was announced that Carlsbad-based Rouleur Brewing has signed a lease to assume operation of Draft Republic San Marcos’ brewhouse under the aforementioned terms.

Rouleur opened in March 2017 at H.G. Fenton’s lease-to-brew Brewery Igniter facility in Carlsbad. Three years later, owner Rawley Macias was able to negotiate with the local developer to purchase the equipment he’d been leasing and take over the entire building, which consisted of twin suites, on a traditional five-year lease. Macias went on to tear down the wall separating the suites’ tasting rooms to create one contiguous service area. And last summer, Macias acquired the 1,700-square-foot enclave to popular North Park event venue, The Observatory, converting it into a colorful, kitchen-equipped satellite tasting room.

Expanding its geographic footprint, brand reach and clientele capacity have worked well for Rouleur, but the company has been brewing at capacity for some time now. Macias is pleased to have found a solution that is not only workable, but optimal, for him and his fast-growing company.

“We’ve been trying to make things work by expanding the number of tanks in the space we took over, but these suites aren’t made for this. They’re meant to be Brewery Igniters,” says Rouleur owner Rawley Macias. “We’ve just been chasing our tails and completely taxed from a production standpoint, to the point where we had to give up a lot of our contract business, which had been very good for us. This will give us a stop-gap to get us through the three-and-a-half years we have left on our lease in Carlsbad.”

The San Marcos facility has just under 4,000 square feet of interior space, supplemented by a nearly 2,300-square-foot service yard on the brewpub’s west side. Rouleur will have a 15-barrel brewhouse at his disposal along with five 30-barrel fermenters, two 60-barrel fermenters, two 60-barrel horizontal lagering tanks, and a pair of brite tanks (30-barrel and 60-barrel). Macias says that expanding in this manner will allow Rouleur to increase annual production from 1,500 barrels to around 8,000 barrels, a 433% increase.

“The beautiful thing with taking over this spot is that it’s we’re doing so under the exact same lease term we have left in Carlsbad. In three-and-a-half years, both leases will expire with options to renew. Hopefully by then we’ll be building our own place and consolidating our operation back to one facility,” says Macias. “By leasing the San Marcos brewery, we get to increase production without having to invest any real money. We can also increase our sales presence after having no beer to sell for so long.”  

In addition to brewing beers for Rouleur and CRG, Macias plans to offer increased contract-brewing services to other companies. He says he’ll be able to produce beers in batches ranging from 10-to-60 barrels, and package in both kegs and cans. Macias expects to start brewing at the Draft Republic San Marcos next month. And once the restaurant is open, Rouleur’s beers will be for sale there on-tap and to-go, including the venue’s built-in bowling alley, which will exclusively sell Rouleur beer.

Draft Republic is located at 255 Redel Road in San Marcos

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