San Marcos food and beverage scene is heating up
Many entrepreneurs are using manufacturing spaces to brew and bake their goods
La Fleur’s Winery located off of Highway 78 recently became San Marcos’s first urban winery.
Raging Cider & Mead Co. makes its beverages with mostly local fruit--often the “ugly fruit” farmers cannot sell and that would otherwise go to landfills.
Dallmann Fine Chocolates, known for its European-style confections, recently moved operations to a manufacturing space on Twin Oaks Valley Road.
The City of San Marcos has seen a steady uptick in its business inventory, up 25 percent since 2011, according to data from the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation.
The city is home to more than 4,000 businesses and, more office, restaurant, and retail space is on the horizon.
Economic Development Manager Tess Sangster has been tracking business growth, and sees an emerging trend of food and beverage entrepreneurs coming to San Marcos.
“Of all the businesses that opened in the past six months, more than half have been in the food and beverage industry,” she noted. “I think it speaks to the fact that San Marcos is increasingly becoming a destination for top-notch dining, great craft beer and gourmet food vendors.”
Twin Oaks Valley Winery just opened off S. Twin Oaks Valley Road and La Fleur’s Winery located off of Highway 78 recently became San Marcos’s first urban winery. Restaurant row on San Marcos Boulevard also welcomed Landon’s Gourmet Kitchen, which offers farm-to-table cuisine and a supervised playroom for children.
And several more eateries have cropped up at North City- a mixed-use development just north of California State University San Marcos (CSUSM). Most recently, FRESH Healthy Cafe, Newtopia Cyder and Grit Coffee planned to open in the area at the end of March.
The trend is being spurred by entrepreneurs who are breathing new life into the city’s manufacturing space - where you’ll find them baking cookies or brewing beer, instead of welding machine parts.
This group has driven up job growth significantly. Since 2010, food manufacturing jobs have jumped 46 percent, and beverage manufacturing jobs have increased a staggering 558 percent, according to regional economic development data.
Case in point: David Carr runs a sheet metal business out of a manufacturing space that is also zoned for a tasting room. Seeing an opportunity, he launched Raging Cider & Mead Co., which makes its beverages with mostly local fruit--often the “ugly fruit” farmers cannot sell and that would otherwise go to landfills.
“San Marcos has been friendly towards tasting rooms,” he said, adding that city staff helped add a patio. “When we presented the idea, they worked with us to find a way within the planning rules to allow it, which was crucial to our need to expand our tasting room.”
Carr also likes the idea of being near other breweries. There are eight located near his, including the recently-opened Wild Barrel Brewing Company.
Just a couple miles away from that brewery, Cookies Con Amore is baking its traditional Italian cookies in a 35,000-square-foot manufacturing space. And Dallmann Fine Chocolates, known for its European-style confections, recently moved operations to a manufacturing space on Twin Oaks Valley Road. Both vendors say the setup works well because they can make small, high-quality batches onsite and sell directly to customers, instead of going through a shop.
“We’re a city that prides itself on innovation, and it’s exciting to see our local entrepreneurs re-imagining how these manufacturing spaces can be used,” Sangster said. “If they have the vision, we want to help them execute it.”
To learn more about doing business in San Marcos, visit www.san-marcos.net/openforbusiness.