Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Beer-30: The History of Ballast Point

As This is our first post on this blog, I felt that it was appropriate to tell you our story about how a small home brew shop flourished into one of the largest craft breweries in San Diego.

Home Brew Mart was started by Jack White in 1992 at 5401 Linda Vista Road, just down the street from USD. Jack had graduated from UCLA and 
Yuseff Cherney and Jack White in the early days of
Home Brew Mart
decided that opening a home brew shop would be his gateway into starting a craft brewery in San Diego. During the first weeks of the store being open Yuseff Cherney strolled in. After meeting Jack he applied for a job to bide his time before he started law school. That summer job turned into a career and Yuseff became the first employee of Home Brew Mart.

 With the success of Home Brew Mart, Jack’s master plan of opening a craft brewery was put into action. This started with a 55 gallon pilot brewery that Yuseff built from spare parts. The pilot brewery quickly evolved into a 15 barrel brew house, which was installed in 1996.

Ballast Point Brewing was now born, and with one fermenter and one bright tank we were capable of producing 360 barrels per year. There was no bottling line and beer took nearly a month to process. At the peak of production this facility was making 6,000 barrels and space was becoming severely cramped. The search began for a new facility to accommodate the growth.

Colby Chandler
Colby Chandler had been managing Home Brew Mart during the initial breweries production, but with Jack and Yuseff scouting San Diego for a new facility he was tasked with heading up the brewing duties at the original brewery. After what seemed like an endless search, the decision was made to settle into a business park in Scripps Ranch, off the 15 freeway.

The brewhouse that would power the new facility was sourced from the now defunct Humbolt Brewing Company in Humbolt, California. Jack and Yuseff then drove up to Riverside, bought two 100 barrel fermenters, and drove them back on a rented flatbed truck. The second wave of Ballast Point had begun.
Ryan Glenn was chosen to move up to Scripps as a brewer alongside Yuseff. Brewing commenced and Colby was able to begin his new career as Specialty Brewer, allowing for new beers to be formulated at Home Brew Mart.

The distillery at Scripps Ranch
In 2008 the break room at Scripps Ranch was transformed in San Diego’s first and only craft distillery using a still that Yuseff had again built from spare parts. By 2010 a new custom still was built by Vendome Copper and Brass of Kentucky. This new still could now crank out 4 barrels of whiskey or rum per week. The brewery continued to grow and eventually acquired the adjoining machine shop. With the facility now at its maximum size, production rocketed up from 15,000 barrels to 30,000 barrels. It was now clear that Ballast Point was in need of direction and long term planning and the search for someone to fill those shoes began.

Enter Harvard Business School graduate, Jim Buechler as President. With his help the structure of the company had become defined, and the tools became available to grow the business by leaps and bounds. Within the course of a year Ballast Point has grown from a 30’000 bbl brewery to an 80,000 bbl brewery, and consequently the second largest brewery in San Diego. With a new facility under construction in Little Italy, and a fourth location in the near future, Ballast Point will be producing 200,000 bbls within the next few years.

Our storefront on Linda Vista Road
Despite Ballast Point’s success, Home Brew Mart has not been forgotten. The store is still located at its original location and has gone through three expansions since 1992. In addition, the brewhouse that pumped out Ballast Point beer for the last 16 years was replaced with a brand new brewhouse in early 2013. We welcome you to come to Home Brew Mart to try some of our world class beers, and then learn how to make them at home.

I hope that you enjoyed our story! Be sure to come visit us at Home Brew Mart Thursday August 1st for our IPA day celebration featuring a tap list dominated by the hoppy beers that we love.


-Ryan Pistole


Home Brew Mart / Ballast Point
5401 Linda Vista Road suite #406
San Diego, Ca 92110
HBM on Facebook


  1. Great article, Ryan. I patronize HBM at least once a week. While there are many (over 60?) breweries in San Diego, many craft beer enthusiasts consider the top three to be: Ballast Point(Lind Vista), Societe(Clairemont) and Alpine(Alpine). Cheers!

  2. Interesting article. I had heard that HBM started in Solana Beach, but I guess not.


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