Beyond the Beer: Ballast Point is about to take over the world... of beer and spirits.
Ballast Point Brewing Company, one of San Diego’s most decorated breweries, will be celebrating its 15th anniversary this fall. Though it could rest on its laurels—a World Beer Cup award for Best Small Brewing Company in 2010 and numerous individual beer awards—the company, named after a Point Loma peninsula, is keeping an eye toward new growth.
New construction projects
Currently, their six signature beer styles, including the gold medal-winning Sculpin IPA, are distributed in more than 14 states and seven countries, though those numbers may soon rise. At their main brewery in Scripps Ranch—a smaller brewery, located in Linda Vista, focuses on specialty beers—Ballast Point has started construction on a project that will expand their footprint to 25,000 square feet. This will enable the brewery to more than double beer production, the size of the tasting room, and the distilling capacity of Ballast Point Spirits, a passion project for head brewer Yuseff Cherney.
Owner Jack White forecasts Ballast Point will soon outgrow their current digs, even with the expansion. He envisions dedicating the Scripps Ranch space solely to producing spirits and shifting their beer operation to an even larger space, perhaps with its own restaurant.
In 2008, Cherney transformed what was once the brewery’s break-room into small-batch distillery, San Diego’s first to be licensed since Prohibition. In the years since, he’s overseen the creation and launch of a line of handcrafted spirits, including Old Grove Gin and Three Sheets Rum, which comes in both white and barrel-aged varieties. Ballast Point has even developed its own Bloody Mary mix, which should be a brunch-time hit when paired with their soon-to-launch vodka called Fugu. Always experimenting, Cherney has been testing batches of absinthe, grappa, and brandy for future spirit releases.
Whiskey and food
So what’s in the immediate future for this ever-evolving brewery? Whiskey fans are eagerly awaiting the release of Ballast Point Distillery’s barrel-aged creation, called Devil’s Share, which has already won national awards but has yet to be tasted by the public. And, inspired by a brewery that he visited in Germany, which also housed a smokehouse, Cherney and company are exploring the possibility of their own on-site sausage and charcuterie-making facility.