Central Coast Brewing Co. is expanding into a second location in San Luis Obispo, which will allow the longtime local brewery to nearly triple its current production.
Owner George Peterson said he signed a 10-year lease in January for a 10,095-square-foot building at 6 Higuera St. in the former home of San Luis Motorsports near Range Master, Caltrans and the San Luis and Sutcliff cemeteries.
Peterson plans to expand the longtime brewer’s operation there, with about 55 percent of the building being used for brewing and production. Portions of the new space will also feature a bar; a tasting and growler refill area; food service, including a pizza oven; at least one outdoor patio; and possibly live music.
“The new brewhouse is substantially larger than we have now, but we’ll be able to grow into it,” he said. “We’ve overbuilt the infrastructure to allow for future expansion.”
Peterson said he hopes the new venture will be running by August. The property is in San Luis Obispo’s commercial-tourism zone, which requires bars or taverns to obtain a use permit from the city’s community development director, San Luis Obispo assistant planner Walter Oetzell said.
Peterson said there are no plans to end production at Central Coast Brewing’s downtown location at 1422 Monterey St.
“Everybody is freaked out that we’re going to close Monterey,” Peterson said. “No — we’re staying around.”
Eventually, the brewery’s core beers will be brewed at the new spread, and the Monterey Street system “will continue to make the fun stuff and the funk,” Peterson said, such as “Kiwi A La Tart,” a pale, wheat beer with sour flavors.
Of the new location, he said: “We can have this place that is kind of an oasis when it comes to that part of town.”
Since then, Peterson said, the brewery has received calls from businesses out of state, including a Red Robin restaurant in New Jersey, seeking some of its beer.
He declined to disclose specific financial information but said gross sales increased about 25 percent in 2015 over the previous year.
He attributed the increase in part to the gold medal as well as an increase in production and a renewed focus on “making amazing beers,” crediting his head brewer, Brendan Gough, who started as an assistant brewer at Central Coast Brewing and then spent two and half years at Firestone Walker Brewing Co. before returning to CCB.
Central Coast Brewing beers and lagers are available at numerous restaurants, pubs and markets in San Luis Obispo County — available on draft or in cans — but the new facility could allow the brewery to expand to Santa Barbara and as far north as the southern Bay Area, Peterson said.
“We’re still going to be local,” Peterson said. “We’re still micro by micro standards. We’re not going to be bumping up against Pabst (Brewing Co.) anytime soon.”
But the expansion could increase production from about 1,500 barrels a year to about 4,000 barrels within the first year after equipment is installed and running in the new space.
Peterson declined to disclose the lease amount but estimated the brewing system “is going to be half a million bucks easy.” The overall project could cost at least $1 million, he said.