Nick Corona definitely knows the value of having good people around you. He has run his homebrewing company, Five Suits Brewing, with his wife, brother, and family for years, and has picked up awards across the country, grabbing a Best in Show win at the Masters Championship of Amateur Brewing in 2017. But he’s always planned to move the operation into an actual retail space, and when an opportunity came up to open a 14,000 square foot complex in Escondido on Grand Avenue, he decided to bring friends.
Actually, as he told Eater recently, he was invited along first. Brian LaMere is the founder of Good Omen Meadery, and he was the one originally looking for a physical location, to serve the startup’s mead and honey wine to the public. But as Corona got involved, he knew he wanted to add food into the mix, and the plan built up from there.
“We started to look at different business models, like Lost Cause Meadery, and the North Park Beer Company and Mastiff [Kitchen], who have separate businesses within the same location,” he says. The final plan for the Escondido location (set to open in spring of 2020) will boast four different businesses all serving within the same walls: Five Suits will offer beers, Good Omen will bring the meads, Stoke Distilling will provide gin and other spirits, and food will be provided by Tacos Notorious, a Mexican-influenced spinoff of Carlsbad’s Notorious Burgers, run by Brian and Julie Gruber.
“It didn’t start as a master plan right off the bat,” says Corona, but it just worked out that way. “Each business owner can do their craft and provide whatever they’re best at without having to go out and feel like they’re headed into uncharted territory.”
Gruber’s already excited about the possibilities of exploring beyond burgers -- he’s been friends with Corona since first grade, and when the opportunity came up to do something different, he jumped at the chance. “I’ve always wanted to do like a loteria-style taco stand,” he says. “We’ll have a fresh organic corn tortilla, and we’ll do vegan stuff, along with short rib. Mexican style, but with a Notorious twist.” Notorious is already planning a second location at the Carlsbad Windmill Food Hall opening soon, and Gruber says he’ll use the experience there to inform the taco stand.
Corona also says that while these four businesses are the main attraction, he’s also leveraging a long history of building connections among fellow brewers. “I’m really fortunate in that I have a lot of friends in the industry. I talked to them at great length about some of the pitfalls they’ve dealt with.” Hauck Architecture, the firm behind other great spots like Escondido’s own Plan 9 Alehouse and Duck Foot Brewing in Miramar, is also set to help out with the look and feel of the complex. Corona says the team is still waiting to get access to the location right now, but that the lease is negotiated and signed.
While having four different businesses under one roof might be overwhelming, Corona adds that the goal is to “make the experience as seamless as it can be. Yes, there’ll be four different businesses, but we’re going to do everything we can to make it conducive to a good time and something that everyone can enjoy.” And everyone, in that case, doesn’t just mean boozehounds -- Corona wants to make sure to “involve families and the community as well.”
The current plan is to for spring next year, but as much as Corona and his fellow business owners want to get started, he admits that they need to take their time. “If everything goes super seamless, we could do it in 9 months,” he says. “But we’re trying to be a little more conservative with our estimates, and make sure we’re not racing to do things.”