Council Brewing Company in San Diego closes its doors

by | Dec 6, 2018

Today, Council Brewing Company with locations in Kerney Mesa and Santee, announced that it will be closing its doors on December 15th for good. After being in business for about 6 and a half years, the San Diego brewery known for its fine Sours like House White and House Red and their Pirate’s Breakfast Day has made the decision to throw in the towel.

In an email sent out to their loyal following today, Council stated their primary reason for shutting down is “due to over-saturation of the brewery market” and struggling with “much lower tasting room/distribution sales”.

Their newest location in Santee will actually close first on December 14th at 8pm. This location had previously housed Butcher’s Brewing Company and Finest Made Ales and was operated by Council for only 6 months.

Their original location in Kerney Mesa is scheduled to be open until December 15th from 11am-8pm before closing its door for good.

Starting today, they will be selling off most of their inventory at a discount.

The closing of Council Brewing Company follows a trend of closing Sour House such as Toolbox Brewing which closed only a couple of months ago in early October 2018. It leaves us wondering if in fact, San Diego might be starting to become oversaturated with breweries or if this is just a way for the market to weed out the weaker links in this industry.

One thing is for sure, the closing of Council Brewing once again reminds us of the importance of supporting your independently owned local craft breweries if you want them to stick around for long.

So next time you’re in your local bottle shop looking for craft beer, be sure to not buy “fake craft beer” but rather pick up a beer from an independently owned local craft brewery which might need your dollars more than you might think.

We encourage everyone to venture outside your comfort zone and try something new every once in a while. Sometimes a can of beer you’ve never heard of could have a hidden gem you would’ve never found if you hadn’t taken a chance.

For now, we say farewell to Curtis and Liz Chism and wish them well with their next venture.



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6 1/2 years ago, Liz and myself, Curtis, began plotting a course to open our own brewery. Just over 5 years ago we signed our first lease on what became our Kearny Mesa brewery and tasting room. We were blessed with enough customers to expand our brewery several times over these 5 years. There have been many ups and downs over the years including many long days to build our business. We entered 2018 knowing that it would be a make it or break it year for Council. We were excited when we opened our Santee brewery and tasting room and had hope for our future. However, we had many significant cost increases this year (freight, labor, rent, utilities, etc) and much lower tasting room/distribution sales due to over-saturation of the brewery market, we began taking heavy losses part way through the year. As a result, we’ve had too long of a stretch of declining sales that we can’t sustain any longer. Liz and I have always committed to being honest, ethical business owners. We committed to our employees that they would always be paid and that we always pay our bills. This meant that for the first couple years, we completely drained our life savings. We slowly rebuilt our savings the last couple years only to go back to not paying ourselves or reducing our already meager salary. We have no regrets starting and operating our brewery. We’ve had so many great times with our wonderful customers. One event I’ll miss in particular is Talk Like a Pirate Day (aka “Pirate’s Breakfast Day”) and just enjoying our flagship west coast IPA, Bully Pulpit. We’ll miss hanging out with our regulars, meeting first time visitors to Council, meeting fans from around the world, collaboration brews, and traveling for beer. We would like to thank each and everyone of you reading this for the part you’ve played in the Council story. We will miss sharing our beer with you and seeing how Council beer has strengthened friendships and helped others. As a way to say good bye, we are going to do what we do best. We are going to drink with our friends and support our community. Read first comment on details of when we are closing and how you can support the community.

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