Local craft brewers to Anheuser-Busch: Keep out

Posted at 5:33 PM, Feb 04, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-05 20:05:01-05

The self-proclaimed "King of Beers" could soon be a part of San Diego's craft beer scene, but some locals are hoping they stay away.

These days, the old San Diego bindery building on 15th and E streets in downtown isn't a happening place.

"I mean, it's just a big vacant warehouse inside, I'm sure," said San Diegan Brian Beagle.

That makes it prime for San Diego's newest brewery -- something Beagle, a craft beer enthusiast, usually calls great news.

"Really, I like the camaraderie, community and focus on quality beer," Beagle said.

However, that camaraderie isn't extending to the brewer that wants to move there, called 10 Barrel.

"They're not necessarily welcome in our hometown," Beagle said.

10 Barrel wants to turn the blighted corner into a 10,000 square foot brewpub.

Beagle is asking a city agency to hold up the project because 10 Barrel is owned by the same company that owns Budweiser.

Anheuser-Busch, or AB InBev, bought Oregon-based 10 Barrel in 2014, and soon expanded.

San Diego's vibrant craft brew scene appears to be next. In a statement to 10News, Anheuser-Busch said it is still exploring San Diego and hasn't decided yet whether it will open here.

The location it is eyeing is about a block from local brewer Monkey Paw. Some craft brewers across San Diego County fear customers will go to 10 Barrel thinking it's a local business.

"They're going to go into this location and they're going to be completely confused because it's a wolf in sheep's clothing," said Kevin Hopkins, of Vista-based Mother Earth Brewing Company.

Current zoning gives 10 Barrel a clear path to approval. The only parts that can be appealed are its requests for an outdoor patio and to expand the building. A decision on those could come this month.

"Independent brewpubs have never had to face an Anheuser-Busch brewpub a block away from them," Beagle said.

It costs $100 to fight the patio, and Beagle said to go ahead and put it on his tab.