History

History

In late 2009, during the process of moving from East County San Diego to the coast, Mike Hess relocated his financial services office into a light industrial park along Miramar Road, close to his children’s school and his new home. This new industrial office was chosen with full knowledge of an added bonus—an 800 ft² garage that was originally procured to hold his home brewing setup, which outgrew his new home. Several months later, an article on the concept of “nano” brewing piqued Mike’s interest. As a home brewer for 15 years, Mike had always dreamed of turning passion into profession, but that seemed out of reach. However, given Mike’s history as a serial entrepreneur, this “nano” idea seemed worthy of at least exploring—was it really a viable business? Was working in the beer business rewarding as it seemed? Would his wife even let him?

As it turns out, the building was zoned properly for a brewery (Industrial-Light in our case) and the size was right. After searching and researching for information on “how to build a nano,” Mike’s frustration in finding no singular source led him to write the Hess Brewing Odyssey, a chronicle of our start up process, while also detailing the steps needed to open a similar operation. In July of 2010, after 8 months of hard work, including building the brewhouse from scratch with the help of his brother, and tapping the art and branding skills of Court Patton, a friend and fellow craft beer lover, the Mike Hess Brewing brand was born and opened to the public. Opening day was a huge success – so much so that we closed for the next two weeks to replenish! Brewing on a 1.6 bbl system, we brewed a whopping 14 barrels (28 kegs worth) in our first quarter. Demand increased, so did production, and we’ve never caught up, so, we did what any business would do when faced with those challenges. We built another brewery.

It’s now 2018 and we’ve grown to become ~the 11th largest of the San Diego brewers.  And whereas there were only 32 other breweries when we opened in 2010 (we were #33), there are now more than 150 operating breweries here! We now distribute to almost all of California, Colorado and Arizona. We package 8 beers in cans year round. We still operate our small brewhouse in Miramar, but now production is in our flagship North Park location, on a 30 barrel NSI system with 750 barrels of fermentation space. A lot has changed, but not the reputation of our beers. We still make Great Beer. No Exceptions.

Mike Hess Brewing now employs 35 full-time and ~20 part-time employees and is always looking for enthusiastic, friendly, reliable and beer-centric people to add to its staff.