Craft Beer

What’s brewing: Ballast Point

Ballast Point Tasting Room & Kitchen
Ballast Point Tasting Room & Kitchen in San Diego’s Little Italy. (Photo by K.C. Alfred/The San Diego Union-Tribune)
(K.C. Alfred / San Diego Union-Tribune)

Year established: 1996


Notable: Ranked No. 11 in top 50 U.S. Craft Brewing Companies (based on 2015 beer sales volume), a significant jump from No. 31 in 2014.

About the brewery: The story of Ballast Point began in 1992 when founder Jack White opened Home Brew Mart (actually, if you want to get technical, the story started in a small apartment at UCLA where White and roommate Pete A’Hearn would brew beer). Soon after, A’Hearn set off to UC Davis to get a master brewer’s certificate and the pair met Yuseff Cherney, a fellow home brewer that would become the Home Brew Mart’s first employee. In 1996, Ballast Point Brewing was officially born in a backroom brewery behind the shop.


Along with their passion for beer, the original founders of Ballast Point Brewing had a love for fishing. Many of the company’s beers are named for fish or fishing terms, which are punctuated with colorful artwork, many of which were created by San Diego artist Paul Elder.

Ballast Point Tasting Room & Kitchen
A variety of draft beers at Ballast Point Tasting Room & Kitchen in San Diego’s Little Italy. (Photo by K.C. Alfred/The San Diego Union-Tribune)
(K.C. Alfred / San Diego Union-Tribune)

Rapid growth soon had the company moving to a production brewery in Scripps Ranch in 2004, where beer is still made around the clock to meet demand. In 2013, a third location was added in Little Italy and in fall of 2014, a fourth location and now Ballast Point’s headquarters, was opened in Miramar.

In 2015, Ballast Point’s sales doubled year over year, and according to a study from the National University System Institute for Policy Research, that increase had a lot to do with the company’s India pale ale Sculpin. In November 2015, Ballast Point was purchased for $1 billion by New York’s Constellation Brands (which has more than 100 brands in its portfolio, including Modelo, Corona in Mexico, Svekda vodka from Sweeden and Robert Mondavi wines in California).


Most popular brews: Sculpin India pale ale, Grapefruit Sculpin, Victory at Sea (served only as half pints at brewery locations), California Amber (the company’s most awarded beer), Longfin, and Wahoo White


Little Italy, Ballast Point Brewing and Spirits (brewery and restaurant)

2215 India St., 619.255.7213

This location serves as the company’s research and development lab. Employees are encouraged to try their hand at small batch brewing, experimenting with new recipes. The space has one main bar with more than 90 taps that feature specialty brews that you can’t get at other locations. There is also a large outdoor patio area complete with private cabana areas, big screen TVs and decorative fire pits. A robust menu is available all day, with some dishes changing seasonally.

Linda Vista, Home Brew Mart Ballast Point (beer store)

5401 Linda Vista Rd., 619.295.2337

Miramar, Ballast Point Brewing and Spirits (brewery and restaurant)


9045 Carroll Way, 858.790.6900

Scripps Ranch, Ballast Point (brewery)

10051 Old Grove Rd., 858.695.2739


Five dishes to try at Ballast Point Little Italy

Five beers that made San Diego famous

10 reasons to see new Ballast Point brewery

Ballast Point, Coronado, Green Flash win in Belgium

Ballast Point to be sold to N.Y. corporation for $1B


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