East Chula Vista’s NOVO Brazil Brewery expands


Eastern Chula Vista’s only brewery has outgrown its taproom.

NOVO Brazil Brewing, which has a 50-person taproom in an Eastlake warehouse, is expanding to a 300-person brewery and restaurant at the Otay Ranch Town Center mall.

“We need more area to give a better experience to the public,” said Eduardo Pentagna, the brewery’s owner. “We are going to be able to have a kitchen, more seating and event space so you can come with your dog, your family, and enjoy some beers.”

NOVO’s new location will have an indoor-outdoor bar, live music on weekends, a Brazilian menu and about 25 barrels for brewing.

The ability to brew more beer at the new location allows Pentagna to use the existing taproom as a “mad lab” to experiment with flavors. The brewer is specifically interested in making sour beers and barrel-aged beers.

NOVO opened in 2015. Since then several breweries have opened in Chula Vista but only on the west side. The brewery, which uses Brazilian fruits and spices to create its beers, built a loyal following in eastern Chula Vista without much competition.

“We are by ourselves here in the east, we don’t have any other brewery around,” Pentagna said. “We have very good customers that really support us, they are one of the reasons that we are making this move.”

The brewery and restaurant will replace Anthroplogie at the Otay Ranch Town Center. The remodel is expected to cost about $2.5 million and be ready by early 2019.

The mall sees NOVO as another step in its transition into becoming a “mall of the future,” said Steven Sayers, senior general manager for the mall.

Malls across the country are experiencing declining customers who prefer to shop online. To bring customers back, Otay Ranch Town Center is adding more entertainment, fitness and dining options.

“The mall of the future is certainly going to be a little less retail, but it’s going to be much more of these other options,” Sayers said. “You can’t go and get a great workout online, you can’t go and get a great meal online. The central idea for a mall was always a gathering place for people. That’s still what we are.”

NOVO fits this vision in two ways: dining and entertainment.

When designing the new location, Pentagna wanted to create an informal atmosphere that helps people make themselves at home and even treat it as an anchor point during their visit to the mall – particularly for people who get dragged on shopping trips.

“I am a husband and a father,” Pentagna said. “My kids can play and my wife can shop without worrying about me bugging them to leave. I can stay here, have a beer, and whenever they are ready we can have some food and leave.”

The mall’s transformation began before NOVO decided to move in and will continue after it opens.

On the fitness front, Otay Ranch Town Center has a yoga studio, boxing gym, a fitness center, and a dance studio on the way. It also has a movie theater and several community plazas that include features like a dog park, lounge areas, and a fountain that kids use to cool down in the summer time.

“I think we’re going to look a lot different even a year from now than what we look like today,” Sayers said.

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