Council Brewing Co. announced Tuesday that it had purchased the brewhouse and lease of Santee brewer Finest Made Ales, between Gillespie Field and Highway 52. Council will operate it as a second brewhouse and tasting room.
In a blog posted to the Council website, head brewer Liz Chism wrote that, for the last year, she and husband/cofounder Curtis Chism had been actively looking for an expansion opportunity. “This last year we have explored several options to make more beer and expand, she wrote, “but nothing seemed to work out for the long term.”
Then on March 9th, the couple read a West Coaster magazine story reporting that Finest Made’s assets had been committed to online auction. Barely more than a week later, the Chisms took possession of the keys. License pending, they expect Council to begin brewing and serving beer in Santee within 60-90 days.
Since opening in 2014, the Kearny Mesa brewery has operated as a nanobrewery, squeezing as much beer as it could out of a small, 3-barrel brewhouse. With the new brewhouse, Council adds a sophisticated 7-barrel system that Finest Made founder Rey Knight installed less than two years ago, with retail packaging considerations in mind.
Its new owners also have retail in mind. Known both for IPAs and mixed fermentation sours, Council has been bottling the latter for most of its time in business, including a foeder-aged off-shoot brand, The Magic Factory. Only recently has Council issued IPAs in a rotating series of sporadic limited release cans.
“The goal with this brewhouse is to keep those rotating cans coming,” Curtis Chism says. Council will continue to enlist mobile canning operations for the time being, but eventually would like to purchase a canning machine to gain greater access to that market — and not just with IPAs. “We have plans to do some other styles in cans on a limited basis as well,” Chism adds, “We already have plans in the works. For some clean beer barrel aged pastry stouts and some other styles.”
Council expands into east county with a significant connection to the area. Specifically, the Chisms used to live in Santee, but sold their home there in order to fund their dream to open a brewery. Four years later, the success of Council has allowed them to finance the expansion without selling any property.
“This opportunity feels like we’ve come full circle,” wrote Liz Chism.
Council’s new turnkey brewhouse has been home to several San Diego breweries over the years. In 2010, it originally was home to Manzanita brewing, which later moved into a larger brewhouse and rebranded itself Twisted Manzanita (which closed in 2015). Rey Knight took over the space and launched Butcher’s brewing, before rebranding as Finest Made in 2016. In late 2015, Thr3e Punk Ales contract brewed there prior to launching its own brewery in downtown Chula Vista.