Happiest brewery on earth? Ballast Point coming to Downtown Disney

Hoping to become the happiest brewery on earth, Ballast Point is opening a dining and drinking spot in Anaheim’s Downtown Disney.

Tentatively scheduled to open this fall, the 7,300-square-foot tasting room, kitchen and pilot brewery will be Ballast Point’s ninth location, the fourth outside of its home base of San Diego.

Replacing a Build-A-Bear Workshop in Downtown Disney, the shopping area adjacent to Disneyland and California Adventure, Ballast Point will occupy a second-floor space. The ground floor will be occupied by Black Tap Craft Burgers & Beer, a New York-based chain that recently opened in Las Vegas’ Venetian hotel.

“In our talks with Disney, they have a plan to elevate and localize the offerings for Downtown Disney,” said Hilary Cocalis, a Ballast Point spokeswoman. “They want more food and beverage, more local offerings.”

Many San Diegans, Cocalis noted, regularly visit Disney’s complex in Anaheim. “And it exposes us to people from across the country and around the world,” she said.

Founded in 1996, Ballast Point grew out of a garage-sized operation behind Home Brew Mart, a homebrewers’ supply shop in Linda Vista. Purchased by New York’s Constellation Brands in 2015 for $1 billion — then a record price for a craft brewery — the brewery has been aggressively expanding. Besides the original location, it operates its main production brewery and restaurant in Miramar; a smaller brewery in Scripps Ranch; and a tasting room in Little Italy.

Last summer, it opened a large brewery and tasting room in Daleville, Va. A Chicago brewery and kitchen is set to open this summer. There’s also a tasting room and dining area in Long Beach.

While 2017 figures have not yet been released, Ballast Point brewed 431,000 barrels of beer in 2016 (a barrel is 31 gallons). At the time, it was nation’s 13th largest brewery and San Diego County’s biggest. (Of the country’s 50 largest breweries, San Diego County is home to three: Ballast Point; Escondido’s Stone, which ranked 17th; and San Diego’s Green Flash, 46th).

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