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ReBru Spirits distills unsold beer to make craft spirits. Photo via Facebook/ReBru Spirits
ReBru Spirits distills unsold beer to make craft spirits. Photo via Facebook/ReBru Spirits
Cheers! North County Columns Food & Wine

ReBru Spirits aims to do more, waste less

ReBru Spirits (connected to Thorn Brewing) is a distillery that “re-crafts” beer from local breweries that was destined to be dumped down the drain.

A brewery might discard beer for numerous reasons, including being out of code or a flavor consistency discrepancy. Director of operations Kerin Sovern took a few minutes to answer some cheers questions about ReBru, their line-up of spirits, and their other sustainability efforts.

Cheers!: Hi Kerin, thanks for helping introduce me to ReBru as a brand and the local distillery. ReBru is distilling spirits using San Diego craft beer as its base. How does that work, and how is it different from how a macro-distillery might start a batch of spirits?

Kerin: So we take unsold craft beer and up-cycle/repurpose it by turning it into spirits. We are at the whim of local breweries that need to find a home to send their unsold beer. To dispose of a keg appropriately, it costs anywhere between $20 to $40 to do so. This process has saved upwards of 10 million pints entering our wastewater system.

Cheers!: During the early days of the pandemic, it seemed that it would make sense that a lot of beer planned for draft lines would be available, but now, two years later, I would think that breweries have adjusted production. Is it still the case that there is always the beer needed available to you?

Kerin: There is ALWAYS a need for breweries to dispose of their beers. We have seen a little bit of an increase, probably due to the fact that we are now known as the place to send unsold beer. Lots of our local breweries are creative and want to try and produce the newest and greatest, and sometimes those can be a swing and a miss.

Cheers!: What is the relationship with Thorn St Beer, and do you have any other partnerships with specific breweries?

Kerin: We love Thorn. They are right next door, so we are able to help each other out, not just by taking their old beer but through community projects, shared events, etc. We deal with tons of local brands, from Pizza Port, Stone, Ballast Point, Baja Brewing, and many more. We like to take high-ABV products, so the more juice, the better it is!

Cheers!: The hospitality industry, in general, can be wasteful, but this concept of ReBru seems to be based on the idea of repurposing beer waste. What kind of impact can you as a company have, and are there any other climate or green initiatives happening within the company?

Kerin: Absolutely. We are well connected with many organizations here in San Diego about recycling and giving back to the community. We are always looking to host outreach programs here. We have solar panels on the top of the building as well. Our motto is to do more, waste less, and we try and live by that [through} our constant recycling. We also pay very close attention to our food purchasing, so we don’t have any food waste.

Cheers!: For someone unfamiliar with ReBru, will you explain the theme or vibe of your space in Barrio Logan and what inspired you to pursue that style?

Kerin: We are the jack of all trades. We like to say that we are the Wonka factory. Everyone that steps through the door is mind blown that with every turn of the corner, you are experiencing a new vibe. We have a speakeasy. Our barrel room is quite literally a warehouse where we host live music and comedy shows. Our sideyard is the same: a large outdoor spot with a smoker that drops jaws with its size and the amazing smoked meats it produces.

Cheers!: If you were to make a drink or a cocktail for someone who had never tried your spirits? What would it be and why?

Kerin: I would definitely do our Sazerac. It is the most spirit-forward cocktail we have, featuring my favorite spirit that we produce, our California Whiskey. If I were to entertain someone who has never been here before, I would implore them to get our flight. We offer tours with a tasting of three spirits for $20 that anyone can sign up for online.

Cheers!: What did we miss?

Kerin: I think just the fact that we are rapidly growing into one of the most premium event spaces in San Diego right now. We have hosted anywhere from weddings to comedy shows, to burlesque performances to our mostly doggy festivals! We actually have a pug one coming up on October 30th called the PugKin patch. Each month there is a breed theme, but we are open to any and all friendly dogs are welcome. The best way to keep up to date with our events is by following our Linktr.ee or Instagram: @rebruspirits or @rebrupresents.

Cheers!: What is the best way for SoCal residents to try or buy ReBru spirits?

Kerin: Come on down to 1735 National Ave and see for yourself! We are working on distributing it out to the public, but for right now, you can come to visit us in-house!

ReBru Spirits is dog-friendly. Check out their upcoming PugKin Patch event — a pug-themed dog festival — on Sunday, Oct. 20, at ReBru Spirits in San Diego.

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