San Diego's Modern Times Beer Announces Impending Closure Of Ambitious Anaheim Leisuretown Project

October 10, 2022

San Diego's Modern Times Beer, which is in the process of being purchased by Hawaii-based Maui Brewing Company, has announced the impending closure of its ambitious, 33,000 square-foot Anaheim Leisuretown property. 

In summer 2020 after four years of development, San Diego's Modern Times Beer unveiled its 33,000 square-foot Leisuretown project in Anaheim, California. The massive 21-and-over "adult playground" was built in a three-story, historic craftsman home and includes an onsite restaurant, full-scale production brewery, cafĂ©, vegan restaurant, a pool with poolside bar, an elevated lounge overlooking the property, a beer garden, a small grocery store, a Craftsman event space and more. Today, after only two years in operation, Modern Times announced that Leisuretown would be closing after end of service this Saturday, October 15. 

"In October of 2016, we announced the impending opening of Leisuretown in 2017," read a post on Modern Times Beer's social media channels. "Four years later, neck-deep in the chaos of a global health crisis, we actually managed to open the doors of this wildly ambitious and incredibly beautiful tasting room, restaurant, brewery, and cafe. It was a massive project which would never have come to fruition but for the talent, passion, and incredibly hard work of so many employees who invested their time, talent, and sanity in creating a place that we still believe is virtually unrivaled in the beer world. It is with the most heartfelt regret that we announce that Leisuretown will be closing its doors for good at the end of this week."

Earlier this year in April 2022, less than two months after announcing the closure of half its locations, San Diego-based Modern Times Beer announced that the company's lender had commenced litigation that would inevitably lead to a court-ordered sale of the craft brewery. This past June 17 at an auction of qualified bidders, Anaheim-based, 3-year-old Brewery X was the winning bidder for $20 million, more than twice the $7.62 million bid made by Maui Brewing. 

But in early July, Modern Times Beer CEO Jennifer Briggs announced that Brewery X "elected not to complete the sale process", so the court-approved backup bidder Maui Brewing Company moved forward with the purchase. Expected to close at some point this month, Maui Brewing will acquire Modern Times for $15.3 million, twice as much as their initial bid of $7.62 million. The combined breweries project to produce 125,000 bbls in 2022, which will make the entity the country’s 21st largest craft brewery according to the Brewers Association.

The team at Modern Times Beer continued on an aggressive growth path since founder Jacob McKean started the company in San Diego's Point Loma in 2013. In addition to being California's first employee-owned brewery, the craft brewery expanded greatly in its nine year tenure, including opening a North Park tasting room dubbed the Flavordome, a downtown Los Angeles restaurant and tasting room named The Dankness Dojo, a tasting room and restaurant in Encinitas named 'The Far West Lounge', a full brewery operation in Portland, Oregon named 'The Belmont Fermentorium', the Invigatorium coffee shop in San Diego's East Village in partnership with Consortium Holdings, the Modern Times Academy of Recreational Sciences tasting room and restaurant in Santa Barbara, The House of Perpetual Refreshment in Oakland, and the Leisuretown project in Anaheim, CA. All of this is in addition to operating the company's original brewery and coffee shop in Point Loma, which was in the process of being expanded into neighboring buildings to add a restaurant before COVID-19 took the world by storm.

Modern Times Beer Founder Jacob McKean
In spring 2021, the founder of San Diego's Modern Times Beer Jacob McKean issued a public apology and announced he resigned as CEO following continued revelations detailing allegations of harassment and discrimination against members of the craft beer industry, including many directly implicating Modern Times. The following January 2022, Modern Times announced its new CEO, Jennifer Briggs, formerly of New Belgium Brewing. Briggs had been trying to sell the company to cover debts, but the court-appointed receivership took control of the sale away from the company and its executives this past spring.

There is no word on what Maui Brewing Company will do with Modern Times Beer's still-open San Diego properties, including the main brewery in Point Loma, the tasting room in North Park and the tasting room restaurant in Encinitas.  

Modern Times Leisuretown is located at 549 South Anaheim Boulevard in Anaheim, CA. For more information, visit moderntimesbeer.com/tasting-room/anaheim.