Plan attracts interest from 119 brewers; fair theme announced

Plan attracts interest from 119 brewers; fair theme announced
With Directors David Watson and David Lizerbram looking on, fair board President Fred Schenk reveals the logo for the 2015 San Diego County Fair during the Oct. 14 board of directors meeting. Photo by Bianca Kaplanek

DEL MAR — Interest is brewing in a plan to make beer in an underused facility at the Del Mar Fairgrounds.

The 22nd District Agricultural Association board of directors, which governs the state-owned site, learned at the Oct. 14 meeting that a request for proposals to transform Surfside Race Place into a microbrewery garnered interest from 119 businesses.

Of those, 64 are located in San Diego, 51 are California based and the remaining four are from out of state, contracts manager Mike Ceragioli said.

The next step in the process is a mandatory conference and site tour scheduled for Oct. 21. The deadline to submit proposals is 5 p.m. Dec. 2.

Surfside Race Place is an approximately 100,000-square-foot satellite wagering facility built in 1991 to accommodate 5,000 people.

In its heyday the facility attracted about 2,700 people daily, but a decrease in offsite betting has resulted in daily attendance of less than 350.

In addition to a brewery, the new facility will include a tasting room, restaurant and museum highlighting the history of the San Diego craft beer industry.

Applicants must commit to a five-year, $1.5 million total lease, with renewal at the discretion of the state. They must also provide proof of $1 million in commercial general liability insurance and a $1 million performance bond.

The selected brewer will be allowed to provide input for the design but cannot sell its product as a retail item. The 22nd DAA is committing funds to improve the facility.

Ceragioli said he expects to make a recommendation to the board at the Jan. 13 meeting.

In other news, President Fred Schenk unveiled the logo for the 2015 San Diego County Fair. The theme — A Fair to Remember — A Celebration of World’s Fairs and Balboa Park — was announced during a Sept. 24 press conference.

Plans are to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Panama-California Exposition held in Balboa Park and highlight inventions introduced at a World’s Fair during the last century, including the Ferris wheel, mustard, air conditioning, the telephone, the bicycle and the Ford Mustang.

Board members officially approved the theme and logo. Schenk said several proposals for the logo were submitted but the design by James Coleman brought together the city, Balboa Park and the fairgrounds and the lettering is reminiscent “of a bygone day.”

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