What to Know
- More than 130 craft breweries call San Diego home
- Craft brewing began in San Diego in the late 1980s and local brands have become nationally recognized.
- Every November, tourists visit the region to take part in San Diego Beer Week.
The decision by San Diego’s Green Flash Brewing Co. to close its tasting room in Poway isn't necessarily a sign of the bubble bursting for the craft brew industry, one expert told NBC 7.
Just last year, Green Flash Brewing said it was expanding production into Nebraska.
However, in January, the company announced plans to scale back distribution across 32 states in the U.S., leading to layoffs for 15 percent of the company’s workforce.
Gonzalo Quintero, Ph.D. serves on the SDSU Business of Craft Beer Advisory Board and he said the trend is to see breweries opening up, not closing, tasting rooms around the county.
Quintero said Green Flash struck while the iron was cool. The company scheduled a testing room opening and expanded nationwide while acquiring Alpine Beer Company at time when craft beer sales were at a plateau.
"It's not a symptom of a bigger problem with the craft brew industry here in San Diego County, but more of a bigger problem with Green Flash and how it has operated here in California," Quintero said.
He advises other breweries to use Green Flash as a learning opportunity on how to be more cautious when they decide to expand.
He also believes there are still areas of growth for breweries to expand including underserved areas like Chula Vista's 3rd Street and Barrio Logan.
Quintero said locals prefer to spend their money on local businesses and local beer.
"We take our free time seriously. There's only so much money to go around," he said.
Green Flash says they are selling what's left of their Poway Tasting Room inventory in Mira Mesa.
The craft brewery, which is headquartered in Mira Mesa, was founded in 2002 by Mike and Lisa Hinkley. In 2016, Green Flash opened its full-scale brewing facility in Virginia Beach, Virginia.