WestBrew closing venues, focusing on distribution

Faced with skyrocketing operating costs, Vista brewing company pivoting, shuttering Del Mar and East Village locations

This time last year, Joshua and Heather Lynn Schreer, the married owners of Vista-based craft-beer company WestBrew, were readying to unveil their extensively remodeled Del Mar bar and restaurant. The relaunch followed a six-month closure and $2 million of interior and exterior renovations which included completely demolishing the patio and a gazebo-style bar, then installing a stylishly landscaped outdoor area complete with a covered, temperature-controlled dining area. It was a mammoth undertaking, but when the construction dust cloud settled the couple were over-the-moon enamored with their new-and-improved venue and its fresh menu of California-accented global cuisine.

WestBrew East Village

Fast forward 12 months and 180 degrees, and the Schreers are not only preparing to shut down their Del Mar passion project, but also WestBrew’s satellite taproom in downtown’s East Village. The former’s last day of operation will be Sunday, July 7. The East Village location will remain operational until at least Friday, July 19, but the couple is hopeful they can keep it open on dates Petco Park hosts San Diego Padres home games and other public events until they find another business to sublease it.

“WestBrew is regrouping and restructuring to focus energy and attention behind our distribution and meeting the demands for expansion in beer sales,” says Heather Lynn. “Rent, cost of food, energy, labor and the overall cost of doing business has gone up too much to keep these locations sustainable. It’s truly sad and we are devastated, mostly to lose our teams at both of these locations.”

The company employs 18 staff members between its two and only satellite locations. The Del Mar venue debuted in October 2020, less than a month after WestBrew launched from its industrial-suite brewery and tasting room in south Vista. The East Village location was planned to open in May 2021, but myriad issues delayed its arrival until February of the following year. 

WestBrew is staying in the beer game, just getting out of the restaurant game. Vista will continue to operate as our flagship production location and tasting room with some food enhancements executed throughout the summer.”

Joshua Schreer, Co-owner, WestBrew

Staying aboard to execute those enhancements and direct WestBrew’s phased closure of its East Village location will be Executive Chef Douglas Fyall

WestBrew East Village Interior

“We love the Del Mar space and are proud of what we built. We hope it ends up in good hands with a new tenant,” says Heather Lynn. “In downtown, we were able to create that space from scratch after taking it over as an empty warehouse. The total interior renovations for that location totaled about $900,000.”

Individuals interested in subleasing the East Village location are invited to inquire about it via email. The Schreers say the space is ideally suited for another brewery, beverage company or bar that can make use of the top-notch draft system and on-site kitchen. Located one block from Petco Park’s Downtown Gate, it caters to ballgame and event attendees, as well as locals and conventioneers. 

“This regroup and restructure came after many months of deliberation and we aren’t making these changes without immense amounts of heartache,” says Heather Lynn. “We have to push forward, put all our efforts behind what is succeeding with our beer distribution. Thankfully, one thing working in our favor since opening during the pandemic has been the relationship we’ve built with Karl Strauss Distributing, quadrupling our on- and off-premise sales since we began with them a little more than a year ago.”

Karl Strauss Distributing’s portfolio also includes local operations Bay City Brewing, Black Plague Brewing, Booze Brothers Brewing, Hodad’s Brewing, Knotty Brewing and Resident Brewing. WestBrew is currently on pace to produce 2,500 barrels of beer in calendar year 2024. 

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