Carlsbad approves new ‘Brewery Igniter’

CARLSBAD — A new type of incubator is coming to the city.

The City Council approved, 4-1, a conditional use permit Tuesday for Brewery Igniter, which will house two small, start-up brewers in the Carlsbad Corporate Center, 5840 El Camino Real.

Each brewery will have a tasting room and be provided equipment to produce beer along with flexible leases, according to Jason Goff of the Community and Economic Development Department.

One tasting room will be 420-square feet with the other at 409 with built-in bars, Goff said.

The planning commission recommended approval at its Sept. 21 meeting.

Bill Hofman of Hofman Planning and Engineering, representing the applicant, said the goal is to provide the brewers with a low-cost option to start their breweries.

One of the tenants, Rawley Macias of Escondido, said he is putting his career as an aerospace engineer at General Atomics on hold to chase his dream. He urged the council to pass the CUP.

Tom Gent, who will occupy the other space, could not attend, but his father spoke in his place. Gent’s father said this concept is the only one in the country giving home brewers without the capital a chance to start their own business.

Each man has been home brewing for at least 10 years.

Hofman also noted the CUP will not allow for live music or outdoor events. He said the idea is to generate buzz around the new brewers and their products so they can move out and begin their own operation.

Hofman said the cost reductions would also allow the brewers to obtain their California Department of Alcohol Beverage Control license.

“Brewery Igniter is a newer concept,” he added. “We provide all the equipment and space to reduce the start-up cost.”

Councilman Mark Packard was the lone voice in opposition, stating he wanted city staff to research alcohol-based businesses and their density within city limits. He said restaurants would not be included in the research.

Packard also questioned having a pair of breweries in the business park and possible safety concerns associated with alcohol.

Packard called for a motion to table the discussion until a report could be submitted to the council, but it didn’t receive a second.

The other councilmembers, meanwhile, said they support a study, but also worried they might be looking for a solution to a non-existing problem. In addition, they said they were satisfied with the application for the CUP.

“I don’t think we need an ordinance for a problem that doesn’t exist,” Councilman Michael Schumacher said.

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