Two breweries opening shared Vista tasting room

Mother Earth Brew Co. and tenant, The Lost Abbey, team to service their longtime fans in North County

In March, facing financial challenges that threatened the continued life of the business, The Lost Abbey’s founders devised a plan that saw Managing Partner Tomme Arthur (pictured above, at right) retain the brewing company’s primary brand and satellite venues, while relinquishing its San Marcos production facility and the beers of sub-brands Port Brewing and The Hop Concept to former partners Gina and Vince Marsaglia, who have since folded those assets into their flagship business, Pizza Port Brewing. As part of that restructuring, Arthur vacated the only home his business had known over its 17 years.

While fans of The Lost Abbey still have a trio of tasting rooms at which to sample the company’s award-winning beers in San Elijo, Cardiff-by-the-Sea and downtown San Diego’s East Village, for members of that contingent who spent years enjoying those IPAs, Belgian-inspired ales and barrel-aged beers at the business’ San Marcos headquarters, it simply isn’t the same. It’s a feeling devotees of Vista’s Mother Earth Brew Co. know well.

In 2010, entrepreneur Dan Love installed one of San Diego County’s first nanobreweries in the homebrew shop he and his family operated in a Vista industrial suite just off State Route 78. The business gained a solid following behind its ever-varied small-batch beers and peace, love and suds vibe, allowing for fast and significant growth. Eventually, Mother Earth took over the entire 28,000-square-foot complex housing its original suite so it could increase production to meet demand. Doing so meant shuttering the popular tasting room at Mother Earth’s brewery, but the company was also operating a large tap house and restaurant in downtown Vista at the time.

In 2020 Mother Earth was presented with the opportunity to purchase the building housing the tap house but the company wasn’t looking to buy. After passing on the offer, they were forced to move out after eight years in the space, leaving the company without a public venue at which to reach new and existing customers. The latter, much like fans of The Lost Abbey, have lamented the loss of their once beloved craft havens, but soon both factions will once again be able to sample their beers at the source.

When Mother Earth’s owners heard that The Lost Abbey was in need of a new base of operations, they reached out to offer available space at their facility and on their brew schedule. Within a month, Arthur, his foeders, barrel inventory were all moved in. Soon after, newly hired head brewer Colin Montgomery (Local Roots Kombucha, Latitude 33 Brewing, Barrel Harbor Brewing) were cranking out beers, including a new line of IPAs that debuted at retail over the summer.

Having worked out kinks and found their collective stride, The Lost Abbey and Mother Earth have since turned their attention to a new project – constructing an on-site tasting room where both companies’ beers will be on tap behind a shared bar.

“Sharing the space wasn’t in the plan originally, but it was an idea that evolved after we saw how much overlap there was between our brands and beers. And the fact we get along so well made the idea more of a no-brainer as time went on,” says Mother Earth Director of Marketing Kamron Khannakhjavani (pictured above, at left). “The space will be entirely indoors with a comfy industrial feel and will seat around 60-70 guests, and its vintage vibe will include a foeder farm, string lights, oak furniture and lots of nostalgic décor.”

Over the past decade or so, brewing companies have eschewed minimalist industrial-park interiors for more fanciful, highly designed venues built to attract customers while conveying brand elements and a unique sense of place. In going back to basics, Arthur and Khannakjavani say they are paying homage to their companies’ humble beginnings in low-profile manufacturing facilities during a time where good beer was the main draw.

A total of 32 taps will be split, with Mother Earth beers claiming 14 and The Lost Abbey pouring from the other 18. Arthur says his lineup will include core beers of The Lost Abbey and sub-brand Tiny Bubbles, as well as some recipes that haven’t been produced in years such as the company’s saison, Red Barn. According to Khannakhjavani, Mother Earth’s year-round and seasonal beers – Project X hazy IPAs and Four Seasons barrel-aged ales – will be available along with occasional vintage releases.

As for the physical layout, the tasting room will literally be split down the middle, with interior-design elements and merchandise from each brand featured on either side.

Work is still underway on the shared tasting room, which is expected to debut sometime in December. When it does, it may only have beers from The Lost Abbey on tap, but Mother Earth’s will follow. As for a grand opening, a party stocked with rare beers, food trucks and fun activities is tentatively on tap for January.

“I think this new tasting room will provide a pretty crazy opportunity for the North County beer community to welcome back two storied brands under one roof,” says Khannakhjavani. “We couldn’t be more excited to connect with customers again in a shared space.”

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