Local businesses cash in as some San Diegans prepare for Mayan doomsday December 21, 2012

Escondido brewery creates 'end of the world' beer

SAN DIEGO - Nikko Sanchez is one of 102 San Diegans spending big preparing for the worst this month.

"If the supermarkets don't have food, I'll have food. If they don't have water, I'll have water," said Sanchez as he unpacked his "bug-out" bag -- a backpack full of food, water and emergency medication he constantly carries with him.

The Mayan calendar only extends to December 21, 2012, and some people interpret that as a prediction for the end of the world on that date. Believing in the Maya prophecy can be surprisingly pricey.

"For me, it's worth it to know that I'm prepared," said Sanchez.

It's an attitude local business owners like Joel Dreifuss are banking on.

"There's definitely an upswing," said Dreifuss. "People are now concerned about that date of December 21st and, yes, they are preparing. Wanting to store water, food, guns, ammunition."

Dreifuss has been owner of the Bargain Center in North Park for more than 50 years. He said he hasn't seen a run on his store like this since the Sept. 11, 2011, terrorist attacks and Y2K. In the last two weeks, his profits are up 25 percent.

Dreifuss' store sells everything from emergency blankets to emergency water purification systems, to emergency dehydrated enchiladas. But many of his normally fully-stocked shelves are conspicuously empty these days.

"I can't complain," said Dreifuss. "I won't complain about it!"

For other local businesses, December 21 is a sell-out marketing tool. Escondido-based brewery Stone Brewing Co. is seeing success with its "Stone Enjoy By 12.21.12 IPA."

"We've kind of played with the date, the whole 'the world is ending on the 21st' thing," said Sabrina LoPiccolo of Stone Brewing Co.

The brewery can't produce the beer fast enough. It's so popular in San Diego that it sold out in two hours after its launch in November. The IPA has since spread, and it's now sold in 10 states.

The beer has 11 hops and a strict consume-by date of the Dec. 21. The idea actually came from a Facebook fan, who suggested a beverage to toast the apocalypse.

"Not only is it delicious, you'll be able to cheers to a life well lived when the time comes to say goodbye," said LoPiccolo.

But Sanchez said it isn't about fun.

"People ask me all the time, 'Why do you prep?' So I tell them, 'This is my 10-month-old son,'" said Sanchez, showing 10News a picture of his young boy.

He said money is no object when you have a lot to protect and only a few weeks left to spend it.

"I do it all for my kids," said Sanchez.

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