The Lost Abbey finds a new home

Displaced brewing company enters alternating-proprietorship agreement to brew and open a tasting room at Mother Earth Brew Co. in Vista

Earlier this year, the trio behind multi-faceted San Marcos brewing interest, The Lost Abbey, determined the best way to preserve the acclaimed yet struggling business was to split it into two independently operated factions. As a result, sub-brands Port Brewing and The Hop Concept will soon belong solely to co-founders Gina and Vince Marsaglia, who will continue brewing the hop-forward beers in those portfolios from the 20,000-square-foot Mata Way headquarters The Lost Abbey has operated out of since 2006. That facility will be absorbed by the siblings’ primary business entity, Pizza Port Brewing. Meanwhile, founding brewmaster Tomme Arthur will retain The Lost Abbey, its sub-brands Tiny Bubbles (Brett beers) and Khárisma (hard teas), and its trio of taprooms in downtown’s East Village, Cardiff-by-the-Sea and San Marcos’ San Elijo community.

Armed with award-winning recipes but in need of a brewery, Arthur has spent the past month-and-a-half in discussions with several North County brewing companies about leasing space to produce The Lost Abbey’s beers at their facilities. Given Arthur’s extensive needs—access to a brewhouse, cellar capacity, tasting-room space, and a home for foeders (pictured below) and barrels used to produce The Lost Abbey’s popular oak-aged beers—he thought it might be necessary to work with multiple brewing companies. In the end, he was able to get everything he required in one place working with respected longtime colleagues at Mother Earth Brew Co. (MEBC) in Vista.

The Lost Abbey’s foeders have been delivered from the company’s former headquarters in San Marcos to Mother Earth Brew Co.’s brewing facility in Vista

MEBC launched in 2010 with a nano-sized brewing system in a single business suite at a commercial building on Thibodo Road just south of State Route 78. Following steady growth over the past 13 years, MEBC’s Vista location grew into a full-fledged 28,000-square-foot campus equipped with a 20-barrel brewhouse and a cellar stocked with 60-barrel fermenters. It was the company’s headquarters until 2016, when MEBC opened a new base of operations with a larger brewery component in Nampa, Idaho. That facility’s enhanced production capabilities made it possible for MEBC to take its Vista brewhouse and tanks offline earlier this year in order to refresh and upgrade nearly every facet of the brewery, making it a particularly attractive landing spot for The Lost Abbey.

“This fits our needs really well, with a 20-barrel brewhouse in a great building that has cranked out some incredible beers,” says Arthur. “We should be able to produce all the beers we need in this location. There are five 60-barrel fermenters and that will take us well north of 3,000 barrels a year with ease.”

“The ability to share space with The Lost Abbey provides access and efficiencies to both of our brands,” says MEBC Executive Vice President Kevin Hopkins, who worked with Arthur at The Lost Abbey as Director Hospitality and Employee Relations from 2011 to 2013.  

We have been friends and neighbors going back over a decade. Now, we get to be ‘roomies’ and see firsthand what Tomme and company have planned for their next chapter.

Kevin Hopkins, Executive Vice President, Mother Earth Brew Co.

Arthur has signed an alternating proprietorship agreement with MEBC that will see The Lost Abbey’s brewing team handling all aspects of beer production firsthand. That agreement will expire in May 2025 and provide the opportunity for both parties to enter into a long-term contract if desired. It’s one of many positives Arthur notes in partnering with MEBC. Others include the availability of offices for him and his staff, enough space to support the lab setup they had at their previous facility and the ability to open a tasting room.

License applications have been submitted for the new tasting room, which will exclusively offer beers of The Lost Abbey and its sub-brands rather than be a shared venue with MEBC. Arthur hopes to receive ABC (California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control) approval in the next two or three months. But before focusing on the new tasting room, he plans to say farewell to The Lost Abbey’s original stomping grounds this weekend.

“Ideally we will have a blowout weekend with all kinds of fun vintage beers being dusted off and tapped,” says Arthur. “I will be around all day Saturday to share with our fans, and hope to see industry, friends and former employees who helped make this a special place for so many years.”

Mother Earth Brew Co. is located at 2055 Thibodo Road in Vista

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