Wine & Beer

Dunbar Brewing is leaving Santa Margarita — for a new SLO County spot

The town of Santa Margarita is losing its only craft brewery.

Dunbar Brewing is moving to nearby Atascadero in just a few months, owner and brewer Chris Chambers announced in a Facebook post on the Dunbar Brewing Public House page.

“Dunbar Brewing is moving to Atascadero!” he wrote in the post. “While it is sad for me that I will no longer be in Santa Margarita, I am excited for this new venture in Atascadero. Santa Margarita has been great to me and it has been a pleasure serving our community for the last 11 years.”

According to the Facebook post, Dunbar Brewing will stay open at 2200 El Camino Real in Santa Margarita through the end of June.

The brewery is expected to open in its new spot at 5855 El Camino Real in Atascadero — formerly home to Camozzi’s Saloon — in either mid-July or early August, Chambers said.

Dunbar Brewing’s upcoming move will be the fifth for the brewery, which Chambers started in Los Osos in 1997. (It occupied two locations in that city.)

Chris Chambers, owner of Dunbar Brewing, sits between a mash/lauter tun and a kettle in his brewhouse at 22815 El Camino Real in Santa Margarita in 2015. The brewery is moving to Atascadero in the summer of 2019.

Dunbar Brewing opened its first Santa Margarita spot, located behind Ancient Peaks Winery on El Camino Real, in 2009, then moved down the road to a 1,600-square-foot brewhouse and pub in 2012.

In 2015, Dunbar Brewing opened a separate 6,000-square-foot, 10-barrel brewhouse in Santa Margarita, also on El Camino Real.

The brewery’s new home in Atascadero is significantly smaller — about 1,400 square feet — but “it’s definitely going to feel larger,” said Chambers, who’s not sure how much he’ll end up investing in the space.

Chambers said he’s bringing in a brand-new, 3.5-barrel brew system with seven barrel fermenters. It’s designed by Premier Stainless Systems of Escondido with accessibility in mind.

“The hardest thing for me to do is climb and descend stairs,” said Chambers, a military veteran who has mobility issues stemming in part from his service in the California Army National Guard and U.S. Army.

With the new system, he added, “I can get back to work and back to brewing.”

Dunbar Brewing opened at 2200 El Camino Real in Santa Margarita in 2012. The brewery is moving to Atascadero in the summer of 2019.

Those barrels will be showcased in the front of the new Dunbar Brewing building, while a public house will occupy the back, Chambers said. There’s also a fenced, 1,400-square-foot patio, he added.

“We’re going to use the old bar so that there will be a lot of the traditional feeling,” Chambers said.

According to Chambers, the pub will offer 14 beers on tap — including signature brews Brown Porter, Fear Naught IPA, Johnny Mash black IPA and Scottish Heavy — as well as wine and cider. The brewer, who specializes in English-, Irish- and Scottish-style ales, plans to add more beers to the list.

Chambers said Dunbar Brewing’s Atascadero location will employ five to eight people. “The crew will be coming with me and we’re adding a few, as well,” he said.

Chambers hopes the brewery’s Santa Margarita regulars will also follow him to the new spot.

“I have a lot of love for the town and the community, and it will be weird not to be there,” he said.

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Entertainment editor Sarah Linn writes about all things fun, including movies, television, the performing arts, the visual arts and the best places to eat and drink in San Luis Obispo County. A graduate of Oregon State University, she has worked for The Tribune in San Luis Obispo for more than a decade and has earned multiple California journalism awards.