SAN MARCOS — Like many people, San Diego native Tomme Arthur discovered a love for beer while completing his higher education. Unlike many people, Arthur crafted a career path for himself surrounding the brew.
Arthur is the co-founder of The Lost Abbey, a craft brewery formed in San Marcos in 2006. Since opening its doors with a handful of Belgian-inspired beers 14 years ago, the company has rapidly grown with three North County locations.
But, Arthur, who has studied the art of beer since the 1990s, will take on a bigger challenge this summer when it opens its first location in the city of San Diego. The Lost Abbey announced this month it will open a tasting room in a historic, former church in East Village.
“We are literally going to occupy a historic church in East Village and it’s one of the most exciting times of rapid growth,” said Arthur, who has lived in San Marcos with wife, Maureen, and their two daughters since 2006. “It’s exciting as heck to say the least. We have never had a presence in the city of San Diego, so we know there are a ton of people we haven’t reached.”
Arthur said he and his team are “excited” to share their love of beer and their brews with a new audience, while also creating a place of community.
“First and foremost, we want it to be a community center like our other tasting rooms,” Arthur said. “The actual church building is quite small so that will give us a great place to create
intimate beer experiences. I think many of us were jazzed when we gazed out over the patio area and saw the potential for an awesome outdoor area. We’re definitely going to have to bring our A-game.”
The anticipated opening of The Lost Abbey in downtown San Diego brings Arthur back to where his career started. A Northern Arizona University graduate, who has been in the brewery scene for decades, Arthur started his career in the same neighborhood in 1996 when he worked for Cervecerias La Cruda.
Arthur went onto work for the popular Port Brewing Company before opening The Lost Abbey. The brewery is a popular one among locals because of the commitment of its employees, Arthur said.
“We have spent years being true to our message that we want to be known as artists and risk-takers in this great sea of beer,” Arthur said. “For us, beer is a canvas, a platform if you will, on which we all have the same opportunities and ingredients at our disposal. How we choose to deploy them ultimately is a huge part of our success. We don’t believe that success is given, it must be earned and for the last 14 years, we have been busting our butts to do just that.”
But The Lost Abbey is also successful because of Arthur himself, said Adam Martinez, the company’s director of marketing.
“Tomme is a well-known figure throughout the beer industry, both at home and overseas,” said Martinez, who has worked with the company for seven years. “He has a ton of brilliant ideas, maybe some more brilliant than others, but it adds a great dynamic of having an owner who’s not only invested in the big picture projects, but also likes to lend a hand in creating the day-to-day experiences at our tasting rooms.”
Arthur might be opening a new tasting room in East Village, but he has a project outside of California as well. He said he has another project, a racing-themed brewery, opening in Tucson, Arizona, in March called MotoSonora.
As he continues with his new projects, Arthur said he hopes to still be serving beer lovers 10 years or more down the road.
“Let’s just say that we would love to be in business making even better beer than we currently are,” Arthur said. “That would make me happiest.”
Hoa Quach has 15 years of experience in journalism, garnering multiple awards ranging from investigative reporting to feature writing. She’s been named a “Woman Who Means Business” by the San Diego Business Journal, featured in BuzzFeed during International Women’s Day and recognized by the California Legislature for her work. You can reach her at email@example.com.