“To my knowledge, AleSmith was the first brewery in the neighborhood when we moved here in 1995,” Peter Zien, AleSmith’s CEO and owner, said. It joined White Labs, then only a yeast wholesaler, and Callahan's, a tiny brewpub that opened in 1989.
“There were no other breweries from, like, 1995 to [the early 2000s]. We were the only ones out here for many years.”
But to hear Zien talk about it, the influx of breweries to Miramar happened seemingly overnight. “Right around the time Mike Hess started his brewery in 2010, it seemed like every brewer rushed to move out here,” said Zien. “Saint Archer [Editor's Note: Acquired by MillerCoors in 2015], Ballast Point, Two Kids; it just started a flood, and I don’t really know why.”
But we'll speculate that the unassuming quality of Miramar may have very well been its biggest asset in attracting brewers.
“It’s always had cheap rents -- you used to be able to get in for under a dollar a foot -- and it used to be pretty spread out,” said Zien. “Now there’s very little available space in Miramar.”
Though its central location is certainly a contributing factor of convenience to the area's explosion (roughly 70,000 people drive Miramar Rd every day, according to Zien), there is one thing that, on the surface level, defies all logic. Apart from being a fairly industrial area, Miramar began truly flourishing between 2010-2013, in the wake of the massive 2008 recession.
“I know with the recession, it didn’t really affect craft brewers,” said Zien. "In fact, 2008-2009 was the first time in 13 years of business we climbed out of the red and became profitable. That time period was when craft beer really became big out here.”