It’s not often that a figure of speech becomes a reality. But for Dave Hyndman, dreams literally went up in smoke July 27 when his Mira Mesa brewery, Wet ‘N Reckless, burned down.
Hyndman said he was brewing and making repairs to the tasting room all day that day. He left for about an hour and when he returned, the brewery was in flames. About 60 firefighters responded and spent about 40 minutes putting out the two-alarm blaze.
“My world collapsed,” he wrote in a post on Wet ‘N Reckless Facebook page. “By the time our valiant fire fighters got the flames out, there was nothing left.”
The brewery was an extension of him — a little bit of him was in the business, Hyndman said. That much was clear when he gave his reason for naming the brewery, Wet ‘N Reckless.
“Beer is wet and I’m reckless,” he said.
And this devil-may-care attitude is reflected in the names of the beers at the brewery. Names such as “Honey Badger Don’t Care,” “Down and Out Stout,” “Oral Pleasure” are as much an extension of the man as it is the brewery.
“I think outside the box,” Hyndman said. “I have a lot of beers that don’t really match any kind normal style.”
Firefighters later determined that an errant welding torch sparked the fire, which also caused damage to nearby businesses in the same building.
For a brief moment, Hyndman didn’t know if he was going to rebuild, but because of the outpouring of support he received from fans of his beers, he decided he must rebuild. But there was one problem. Hyndman didn’t have fire insurance, only liability.
“When first started I didn’t have much and I was just doing the minimum to start the business up,” he said. “I never realized that at some point I should have gotten better insured.”
Hyndman estimated that it would cost at least $30,000 to $35,000 to rebuild the business. That was when a minority partner in the brewery suggested perhaps doing crowdfunding to help with the cost. Hyndman’s Facebook message detailing his ordeal had received a lot of positive feedback and shares from supporters.
“It seems like it touched people in a way,” he said. “I thought that maybe enough people would care to want to help me get it back.”
The Kickstarter campaign started Aug. 26 and while the fire was nearly a month old at that time, Hyndman is still affected by it. In the video message, his voice cracked a few times as he described what the brewery meant to him and why he needed to rebuild.
“There is no better feeling than to stand in your business and see people having a good time, drinking beer, enjoying themselves, making friends. And I would stand there and I would bask in it, realizing that I gave them that. “
Opened in 2012, Wet ‘N Reckless is one the smallest of nine or so breweries in Mira Mesa. The brewery has not yet turn a profit in its three years in business, Hyndman said.
Within 10 days of launching the crowdfunding campaign, nearly $7,000 have been donated of $49,000 funding goal. Should the campaign fail, Kickstarter required that funding goal must be met otherwise any money donated goes back to the funder, Hyndman said he does have a plan B.
“Plan B is a combination of other sources of money,” he said. “I’d dig into my savings a little deeper, get investors. There are a lot of people that expressed an interest in it.”
But Wet ‘N Reckless will be back. This much Hyndman is sure of, but it may be in a new location.
“For a lot people, it became an institution — it became just a place for a lot of people hang out and come and have my beer, which is different from other beers,” he said.