Big Ideas in a Small Place at Esco Brewery

by Renee Montalvo

Escondido’s newest and smallest brewery, Escondido Brewing Company, strives to cultivate community through both its atmosphere and collaboration with the local community.

The local brewery business has recently been on the rise in North County, San Diego. Esco Brewery was opened last summer by two Escondido locals, Ketchen and Kevin Smith. The two are not related, but have been friends since elementary school. Recently, Ketchen came to Kevin with the idea of partnering together to bring Ketchen’s original craft beer to downtown Escondido. Kevin has experience in business as the owner of Escondido Feed, his other business which is located next door and attached to the brewery. Combined with Ketchen’s passion for brewing and their love for the small town of Escondido reveals itself in their beer, in the environment they create for their customers, and their collaboration with other local businesses.


The brewery is small with a clean and minimalist design. Of Escondido’s four breweries, Escondido Brewing Company is the smallest at about 300 square feet. The cozy space, complete with patio games such as a bean bag toss and Connect Four make for a family-friendly atmosphere. The outdoor space is furnished with picnic tables and able to seat about 30 people at a time. The rustic and close-knit space makes it feel like a friend’s backyard. The patio is not only kid-friendly, but also pet friendly. Visitors may even see a couple of goats in the parking lot.

The small brewery is located near Centre City Parkway and the 78 freeway, just a five minute drive from JPCatholic. It is only open two days a week, as Kevin operates the Escondido Feed Supply during the rest of the week. The brewery is open Friday from 4:00-8:00 p.m. and Saturday from 2:00-8:00 p.m. The brewery currently has eight custom beers on their menu including the cleverly named Hopcondido Pale Ale and Cruisin’ Cream Ale with Vanilla. A mark of any great small business, the brewery embraces the local spirit of the town and uses it to create a sense of community.


Kevin also created a partnership with local food truck companies to provide food for those visiting the brewery. The brewing company is only able to serve beer at this time with its small sized kitchen, but they still wanted to provide their customers with quality cuisine. Phattie’s is the brewery’s regular food truck, setting up next to the patio almost every weekend. Phattie’s food truck serves traditional Mexican food and makes for a great pairing with beer. When Phattie’s is not there, one can expect to see other food trucks from the local community. The brewery updates their website each week with the coming week’s food truck.

Escondido Brewing Company’s emphasis on a community oriented environment, as well as the comradery with other small businesses in the area make it a great example of an ideal small business.

*Photos Courtesy of the Esco Brewery website.