Key change could bring craft brewers to coastal areas in North San Diego County

Posted at 6:31 PM, Jul 12, 2017
and last updated 2017-07-13 09:43:42-04

OCEANSIDE, Calif. (KGTV) - A key decision Thursday could bring throngs of craft breweries and wineries to downtown Oceanside.

The popular industry has largely been pushed away from that part of coastal North County.

That’s because the city requires craft breweries and wineries in the area to also operate a restaurant.

“Kitchen equipment alone is expensive, the retrofitting, construction costs, all of the infrastructure, electrical, plumbing, all of the elements that go into it are magnified,” said Dande Bagby, co-owner of Bagby Beer Company on Coast Highway 101.

Bagby and her husband opened the restaurant brewery three years ago. They originally planned for downtown Encinitas, but it was too expensive. While they found the right situation in Oceanside, most craft brewers and winemakers don't even bother looking on the 101.

But that all could change.

The city is now asking the Coastal Commission for permission to lift the rule that requires restaurants and also reduce parking restrictions.

Bagby said she would welcome the competition.

“As long as their quality is maintained, as long as they’re careful and paying attention to detail and how their beer is produced and their customers love it, I think there's room for everybody,” she said.

The Coastal Commission will consider the rule change at its meeting today.

Russ Cunningham, an Oceanside city planner, says he's already had several conversations with interested craft brewers about opening downtown.

Watch 10News at 6 a.m. Thursday for Jon Horn's report.