I don’t know when I saw the sign attached to the building across from the train station. It was probably as I came off the Coaster train after another long workday, and thinking about having a beer. “Public Notice of Application to Sell Alcoholic Beverages,” it said. The Village would be home to a future Pure Project Brewing tasting room.
The sign was up for a long time, but nothing seemed to happen. I would pass it by twice daily during my commute. One day there was a fence. Another day part of a wall went missing during a demo session.
The sounds of hammers and saws emanated to the sidewalk. It was taking a long time, but little by little a tasting room was emerging like a T-Rex skeleton being unearthed from the stone of the Dakota Badlands. Then the coronavirus hit. What now? I wondered. Will they open?
On Friday, July 3, the doors opened for takeout customers, and despite not yet offering in-person imbibing one could imagine a future in which we’ll sit on the expansive patio letting the sun keep our outsides warm, and cooling our insides with a cold beer while watching the trains roll in and out.
The “Fresh Craft Beer To-Go” sign felt like some sort of momentum, like a victory against the pandemic, against inertia for the neighborhood. I wondered how the team at Pure Project felt, and reached out. Co-Founder Mat Robar was kind enough to take some time to answer my questions.
Cheers: What were the emotions of finally getting this location opened, and how has this moment of the pandemic impacted that?
Mat: It is true, this project was a bit of a long road for us having to get approval first from the planning commission and then from the city council before we could start building, but we could not be more excited to be a part of the thriving Carlsbad community.
All we can say was it was worth the wait, and we look forward to the future regardless of how the mandates around us change. We will adapt, and do everything we can to serve the local area and share our stories and products.
Cheers: What inspired the expansion into North County?
Mat: It was a natural progression for us as we did not have a North County location yet, and we wanted to establish a base where the residents up north could come, and enjoy [our beer] without having to drive all over the city. Landing in Carlsbad on State street was a huge bonus for as it is such a dynamic area with amazing neighbors who have welcomed us in.
Cheers!: This location has a reclaimed modern vibe including racks of aging barrels in the tasting room. What kind of beers can North County customers anticipate coming out of this location?
Mat: All of our locations feature a rotating tap list featuring beers of all kinds, which is part of what makes Pure Project unique. We are of course well known for our IPA’s both murky and west coast, however, at any given time on our tap list you will see a strong representation of many styles of beer making the tap list balanced and with something for everyone. From barrel-aged stouts and sours to pilsners, pale ales, Belgian styles and more. You will always find something new when you visit.
Cheers: One of the pillars of your brand is “Brewing Clean.” How has the pandemic impacted the brewery’s ability to source ingredients, and the ability to maintain production? Why is “Brewing Clean” so important to the Pure Project?
Mat: It comes back to our roots, our name and our ethos. Our mission is to “Build community and a reverence for beer as an agricultural product by staying true to our ethos of quality ingredients, sustainability and attention to detail.”
It is all right there, the details matter. From the grain we source to the local honey adjuncts or organic fruit we use and how it is processed, brewed, poured and even presented to you, it all matters.
Like any great chef, our brewers start with the best ingredients they can find and source them in from the most sustainable places we can. This is a great deal of work and often costs us more money and time than simply buying a mass-produced industrial commodity, but knowing that we are supporting producers and farmers making quality products, and doing it the right way for the planet means everything to us.
Love is a real ingredient. Ask anyone who ever wondered why they could not make their pasta taste like their grandmothers! Love for what you do, the products you produce and the planet itself, it all matters, and at the end of the day, we believe you can taste that difference in the beer in your glass.
Cheers: Anything else you’d like to share with the readers?
Mat: Pure Project is also a 1% for the Planet Company. What this means is that 1% of every dollar spent with Pure Project goes back to grassroots environmental groups on the front lines doing the good work. It is an important distinction that it is 1% of top line, not of profits, so this money goes back whether we are profitable or not, it is simply a cost of doing business.
We all create an impact and we are dedicated to operating in the most sustainable way we can and leaving this planet better than we found it. To date, we have donated over $100,000 dollars to environmental charities, and that number goes up every year.
This year we were also able to certify our company as Carbon Neutral, and went above and beyond to certify all of our employees as well! Plastic Neutrality will follow this year as well for both the company and employees, and we have a lot of great new working partnerships with amazing environmental groups both locally,[nationally and internationally] that we are excited to keep growing.
A great new addition to Village, Pure Project’s commitment to creating a product and culture even grandmothers can be proud of is sure to set them apart. Be sure to check out Pure Project’s sustainability and charitable efforts, and sign up to be an e-mail insider for to get updates on current takeaway hours, and what beer is coming out of the brewery including recent release Black is Beautiful, a hop-forward imperial stout.
The sales of this beer from Pure Project and breweries around the country will go to benefit the NAACP to help further their mission to ensure political, educational, social and economic equality of rights of all persons and to eliminate racial hatred and racial discrimination.
Don’t forget to check out the newest Cheers! North County Podcast out every other Friday!