Nate Ladendorf has lived in San Diego's Bay Park neighborhood for seven years, so when he and business partner Justin Lopez decided to open a combination taproom and retail bottle shop specializing in craft beer, they agreed they wanted to find a location in the vibrant, growing community Ladendorf calls home.
As I sat with Lopez, Ladendorf and his small pound puppy, Hoochie, I could feel the partners' confidence and excitement for the new venture, Poseidon Project, set to open on Nov. 6 during San Diego Beer Week.
As we talked about life paths and how even the worst situations can beget a bright spot, I could see that this was especially true for Ladendorf. He lost the use of both legs in a car accident at the age of 26, and as a surfer he was devastated by not being able to participate in the sport he loved.
Years of hard worked paid off and he eventually found a way to get back into the ocean, and to this day he travels to Fiji to surf every year. It's that type of determination that has led him to become a successful business owner.
Besides Poseidon Project, Ladendorf is a partner in several San Diego businesses including Black Anvil Tattoo Shop in Kensington and an apparel manufacturing division of HOME, a historic New York bar and San Diego retail store.
Lopez is the other side of the Poseidon Project. He has a history of running successful businesses, including the popular Draft bar and grill in Mission Beach. As beverage director at Draft, Lopez implemented a beer education class for the general public and will be bringing that same love of beer and education to Poseidon Project. A certified Cicerone beer server and educator, Lopez has created a proprietary beer education program called the Craft Course, which he teaches to hospitality professionals and the general public.
Lopez and Ladendorf are San Diego natives who have watched the city grow to become a craft beer mecca, but that doesn't mean that's all you'll find in their 1,800-square-foot bottle shop. Lopez has been busy traveling the country searching out the finest craft beers that you can't find in San Diego.
"I've traveled to Vermont, Maine, Texas and small towns throughout the U.S. to find amazing beers that you just don't see in San Diego," Lopez said.
When I asked why leave the home of the craft beer movement in search of other brands, Lopez made a good point: "Many people living in San Diego aren't from here. They would like to see some beers from back East or wherever it is that they are from. I want to bring those here to add to what our city is famous for."
The one thing that Lopez couldn't stress enough is that he wants to make the Poseidon Project a place where people can be comfortable when asking questions about beer. Beer fans, beer enthusiasts or even beer rookies will find that everyone is welcome.
So if you're looking for a place where egos are checked, the beer selection is killer and the knowledge of the craft comes first, second and third, Poseidon Project will be a place you must check out.
4126 Napier St., Bay Park. poseidonsd.com