Photo courtesy of Co-Lab Vista.
Co-Lab Vista is a 15,000 square foot multi-concept venue that will open in February 2021.

Photo courtesy of Co-Lab Vista. Co-Lab Vista is a 15,000 square foot multi-concept venue that will open in February 2021.

Multi-concept projects are a top hospitality trend these days. These developments tend to be a one-stop shop for entertainment and dining and can be more cost-effective for operators and even diners.

In San Diego, Vista is the latest city to get its own collective.

At 15,000 square feet, Co-Lab Vista will house three breweries, one winery and a restaurant and is scheduled to open February 2021. The innovative business model is the first of its kind for the North County region.

Breweries to Expand

Joe Deutsch, co-founder, projects sales to be between $5 million and $6 million annually for Co-Lab. The drive behind the multi-concept model is to create a space that allows local breweries to expand without all of the associated costs of a stand-alone business.

The ultimate hope, he said, is that the revenue will be great enough for tenants to pay their employees living wages with full benefits.

“We developed the concept a few years ago as we watched brewers struggle with poor real estate concepts and no effective marketing plans,” he said. “Too many were buried in the backs of industrial parks with little parking, small taprooms, expensive rent and no visibility… With our real estate and operational cost advantages, we expect more brewers to take advantage of the savings and efficiencies our concept delivers. We would like more profit in the hands of craft brewers by driving sales through large taproom. We’d love this concept to provide the degree of sales for the brewers that allow them to compensate their employees as full-time staff with benefits.”

Co-Lab will feature three breweries. This includes Barrel & Stave, a spin-off from Wild Barrel Brewing in San Marcos; Breakwater Brewing, a brewhouse in Oceanside; and Laguna Beach Beer Co. The latter’s Co-Lab Vista presence will mark its entrance into the San Diego County craft beer market.

The businesses will share a 2,691 square foot taproom with 350 seats. Co-Lab will also include a 805 square foot patio with about 150 seats, a mezzanine, a 700 square foot kitchen to be used by the food operator and 1,000 square feet of additional common area. A 2,000 square foot meeting space can used for private parties, said Deutsch, who describes the overall ambiance as very family friendly, with TVs, games and music.

The remaining 4,385 square feet will cover each business’ production equipment.

Co-Lab Vista is still seeking a winery and is actively in negotiations with an eatery that will occupy the space.

Shared Cost

Kevin Ham, director of economic development at the city of Vista, said the shared cost associated with the multi-concept business model is what appealed to the city. Not to mention, home to roughly 20 craft breweries, Vista is the U.S. city with the most breweries per capita (there is one brewery for every 7,000 people in Vista). So, the North County neighborhood seemed like the perfect fit for Co-Lab and its three breweries.

“Businesses respond to consumer demand – they continually look at ways to deliver product in a cost-effective manner,” he said. “Whether during pandemic conditions, financial conditions or consumer demands, the market continues to change for all types of products. With regards to those in restaurants or in the brewing industry, this is a concept that allows for lower cost to the brewery production facility, winery and restaurant. It allows the cost to be shared in an environment where they can produce their product and have more shared cost amongst the parties. It also allows consumers to go to that location, experience a unique environment while at the same time have a different offering in lower cost setting.”

Bring More Visitors to Vista

This works out well, he said, especially for breweries either starting out or stepping up from an igniter or an incubator space.

Besides bringing jobs to the city, Co-Lab Vista is also expected to bring more visitors to Vista, said Ham, which will also impact surrounding businesses and overall recovery efforts.

With this in mind, Deutsch expects Co-Lab Vista to be the first of many multi-concept venues to pop up in the city and the state.

“We expect this to be the first of many, many others, beginning initially in California,” he said. “It’s our belief that our concept will allow craft beverage makers to enjoy sales that are easily twice as high for half the cost as compared to the traditional craft delivery system.”