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Kiss My Glass: A lot of good beer brings up the standard

Pure Project
Pure Project opened in 2016 in Miramar as part of H.G. Fenton’s first Brewery Igniter project.

There are a lot of breweries in San Diego County, but Pure Project founder Jesse Pine says that competition helps elevate the craft beer industry as a whole.

Originally concepted as a brewery in Costa Rica, Jesse Pine and his business partners dreamed of running their company in the heart of the jungle. But opening a business in a still somewhat undeveloped country isn’t exactly paradise.

“When you make beer you make a lot of wastewater and how do you deal with that without having an impact on the environment,” Pine said. This realization came with a lot of added costs that didn’t make Costa Rica a sustainable place to operate.

After 18 months down that path, Jesse and partner Mat Robar decided to pull the plug on the project. That’s when Pine got the call from a friend that worked in commercial real estate who pointed him to H.G. Fenton Company’s original Brewery Igniter space (they now have three in total) in Miramar.

Pure Project strawberry fest
The Pure Project team, including Kiss My Glass guest Jesse Pine (second from right) picks strawberries to incorporate into specialty brews for its annual Strawberry Fest.

With a majority of original investors on board, the business partners signed a lease for a space in the turnkey brewery facility, which included a 300-square-foot tasting room, in January 2016 and opened their doors in August.

Now, three years later, Pure Project has increased its production capacity in Miramar, is close to opening a new tasting room in Bankers Hill and is in the process of working to open a space by year’s end in the Carlsbad Village.

Pine recently sat down in our recording studios to talk about collaborations, the vision of the Pure Project brand and the following:

  • Idea of launching a brewery
  • Living in Costa Rica
  • Why San Diego?
  • Brewery Igniter by H.G. Fenton
  • Reached capacity with 1,900 barrels in 2018
  • Growth in Miramar, working on new spot in Bankers Hill, eyeing Carlsbad
  • Design philosophy
  • Eco line of products and merchandise
  • Reducing waste
  • First build woes
  • Liquid City Cheese Expo event
  • Are there too many breweries in San Diego?
  • Moving from the beach to quieter Point Loma
  • Trend of hyperlocal and boutique beer tasting
  • Focusing on quality, small batch releases and retail
  • Self distribution vs. working with distribution company
  • Young brewer, a good mix between a mad scientist and an artist
  • The culture at Pure Project
  • Leaving “beer” and “brewing” out of company name
  • Coffee on the brain

Kiss My Glass is a collaboration between PACIFIC and Facebook group Eating and Drinking in San Diego. The podcast is hosted on the U-T Podcast Network.

Subscribe to Kiss My Glass and sister podcast Dish It Up wherever you listen to podcasts, including iTunes, Google Play, Stitcher and Soundcloud.

Keep up

Pure Project Brewery Igniter: 9030 Kenemar Dr., Miramar, 858.252.6143; Pure at the Park: 2865 Fifth Ave., Bankers Hill, purebrewing.org
Instagram: @purebrewing

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