Local Roots Kombucha Acquires Former Latitude 33 Brewing Facility To Keep Up With Demand For New Hard Kombucha Line | Latitude 33 Partners With Green Flash Brewing

December 3, 2019

San-Diego based Local Roots Kombucha has acquired Latitude 33 Brewing Company’s 16,000 square foot brewing facility in the North County area of Vista, California, in order to keep up with the increased demand for its non-alcoholic and hard kombucha products.

The acquisition of the Latitude 33 facility, coupled with a planned expansion of its sales force and distribution network, will enable Local Roots to keep up with the rapid and extensive demand it has received for its hard kombucha product throughout Southern California. The purchase includes Latitude 33’s former space at 1430 Vantage Court, Suite 104, in Vista, and 20 fermentation vessels. Many of Latitude 33’s brewers will be joining Local Roots, bringing with them years of experience and expertise on the facility’s equipment. Local Roots’ existing tasting room, The Boochyard, will remain operational at its current location of 1495 Poinsettia Avenue, one block away from the brand’s new brewing facility.

"Trying to keep up with San Diego’s thirst for our product has been humbling, to say the least," commented Local Roots Marketing Lead Kory Hunter. "As the cliché goes, this is a nice problem to have, but still a problem we needed to solve as we’ve had to put new accounts on hold since August. The acquisition of this brewing facility will allow us to satisfy the increased demand we’ve received from our existing accounts here in San Diego, as well as open up our distribution to restaurants, bars, and bottle shops locally and up to the northern tip of LA county."

Local Roots acquisition of Latitude 33’s facility will expand its production capabilities by 35 times, increasing from a 1,000 barrel per year capacity to an estimated 35,000 in 2020. Beginning in January 2020, Local Roots will be able to comfortably service accounts across San Diego County and as far north as Los Angeles County. With an eye on national expansion, Local Roots is exploring distribution options beyond Southern California. All of Local Roots Kombucha’s products are organic, probiotic, and gluten-free, providing an alternative to the hard seltzer category, hard liquor, wine and craft beer.

Local Roots was founded in 2017 by Ryan White and Joe Carmichael, two cousins with shared a passion for wellness who started home brewing traditional kombucha for the natural health benefits it provided an ailing family member at the time. What began as a love for clean eating and creating cold-pressed juice products for loved ones evolved into the creation of the Local Roots brand. Originally Local Roots only brewed traditional kombucha beverages, but experimentation and exploration into craft beer alternatives packaged with the benefits that come with kombucha led to the eventual introduction of Local Roots’ hard kombucha line earlier this year. Hard kombucha flavors include Strawberry Mojito (6% ABV, 150 calories, 3 grams sugar), Cali Mule (6% ABV, 140 calories, 2 grams sugar), and Booch Mosa (6% ABV, 150 calories, 3 grams sugar).

Latitude 33 Brewing was founded in March 2012 by brewmaster Kevin Buckley (formerly of Alpine Beer Co. and Back Street Brewery) in the brewery space that previously served as Green Flash Brewing's original facility in Vista, CA. The craft brewery has grown to be one of San Diego's most popular due to the success of its Blood Orange IPA (it is the #1 selling craft 6-pk cans of any San Diego brewery according to June 2019 IRI data). Earlier this year, the company took over the space at 2864 Whiptail Loop, Suites 105-106, in Carlsbad to serve as a distribution and storage warehouse. We also announced the company would be opening a downtown San Diego tasting room on the base floor of the InterContinental Hotel directly across the street from the San Diego Bay, but all progress on the space has halted, signage has been pulled, and the liquor license application withdrawn.

"Increased competition combined with increasing costs continues to erode already razor-thin margins and we can no longer support the production of core beers at scale in the previous structure," explained Latitude 33 CEO Mike Ingram. "In response, we formed an alliance with Green Flash, Alpine, and their top-tier facility to leverage combined economies of scale that will help both entities continue to compete in this dynamic and evolving arena while allowing us to focus on best-selling core beers, invest in our brand, and capitalize on local taproom expansion opportunities over the next 2-years. Latitude 33 has always been on the cutting edge of craft and while that philosophy has applied primarily to our product development and marketing approach, we believe this is a strategic business move that incorporates that foundational ideology. We are thrilled that up-and-coming kombucha brand, Local Roots, was able to capitalize on this golden opportunity to hit the ground running with a turn-key facility capable of regional volume. The two companies will continue working together closely while exploring further synergies moving forward."

With the sale of their original brewery, Latitude 33 Brewing has entered into a new craft beer alliance with Green Flash Brewing and Alpine Brewing and is shifting its market approach. Latitude 33 will be brewing under an alternating proprietorship at the Green Flash Miramar facility and will migrate its headquarters to the Whiptail Loop Distribution Center. The company will continue to operate the Vista taproom as-is, but the commercial brewing equipment was sold to Local Roots Kombucha. Latitude 33 will continue to brew pilot batches & limited recipes at both the Vista taproom and Green Flash facility pilot system.