Last Updated on July 18, 2023

Paso Robles, CA is a mecca for innovation, with Tin City being one of its chief incubators. This area came to life under the stewardship of Mike English, who developed the area.

All of the buildings here are clad in tin, hence the name Tin City. A big secret to its success, however, is its industrial zoning, which allows wineries to do business here. They’ve come in droves, and the area is flourishing as a food and beverage destination now.

Tin City has grown into a community that shares its love of food and beverage with visitors from all over the world. Here you can find beer, wine, cider, distilled spirits, olive oil, sheep’s milk ice cream, pasta, restaurant, hand crafted candy and a creamery and bakery opening soon.

Tin City’s Spirit of Community

Get inspired by this community of entrepreneurs or just enjoy their unique food and drink. If you ever wondered how businesses can work together to thrive instead of engaging in cutthroat competition, this is the place to visit. When someone doesn’t have the right tool, they are likely to easily borrow it from one of the other winemakers and just keep on working.

Currently, Tin City boasts about 40 businesses, including over 20 “working wineries,” which means they truck grapes in to do wine production on-site. In addition, a few other wineries with estate vineyards have tasting rooms in Tin City.

Wine Shine and Tin City Distillery

I had the privilege of meeting several of the entrepreneurs here, including Patrick Brooks who started Wine Shine and Tin City Distillery. He loves telling jokes, and I am sure the second graders he used to teach before he made the leap to entrepreneur had some wonderful experiences in his classroom.

Patrick’s eyes sparkle and his entire face shines with enthusiasm when he talks about his endeavors. I was lucky enough to taste Tin City Distillery’s Passion Orange Guava Vodka and I highly recommend it. It’s best to make an appointment if you want to tour his popular distillery and spend some time with this delightful gentleman.

BarrelHouse Brewing Company

Beer vats at BarrelHouse Brewing Company.
Beer vats at BarrelHouse Brewing Company. Photo by Kirsten Kohlwey

BarrelHouse Brewing Company is one of Tin City’s main attractions. Their outdoor concert venue can hold up to 1,000 people. With a rock garden waterfall, picnic tables and newly created indoor venue, their popularity has soared.

They are now forging ahead with plans for a new larger facility on the East side of Paso Robles. The new project is a huge jump up in size with 100,000 square feet available in a 1940s field hangar on 10 acres of land.

While The Hangar has barely been announced, the existing facility is a testament to the creators’ forward-thinking business plans. With a background in the construction industry, owners and founders Jason Carvalho and Kevin Nickell proceeded to build their dream using recycled and used materials and equipment.

Chris Vaughn, marketing director and founder, proudly reported they managed to build their entire facility and procure all equipment in a planned sustainable manner with the exception of one large piece of equipment they had to purchase new.

At BarrelHouse Brewing Company you can find about 20 different beers and hard seltzers on the menu every day of the week. Vaughn says they love to experiment, don’t worry about their competitors, and just go on creating the beers they love to drink.

Etto Pasta Bar

Etto Pastaficio.
Etto Pastaficio. Photo by Kirsten Kohlwey

Another early business launched in Tin City is Giornata Winery started by Brian and Stephanie Terrizzi. The couple have long been making wine with Italian grape varieties planted in the Paso Robles region and are yet another great example of Tin City’s entrepreneurial spirit.

While Stephanie has a reputation as being one of the best “vineyard doctors” in California, she and Brian found time to start another business, Etto Pastificio. Its motto is “Italian Wisdom – California Ingenuity – American Grain.”

The company makes seven different types of pasta in-house and if you don’t like cooking, you’ll love their popular new restaurant, Etto Pasta Bar. It features all of their pastas in perfectly created, widely varying dishes along with other beautifully presented Italian delights.

Paso Robles is a fascinating and thriving community and Tin City is American innovation and collaboration at its best. I know a future trip is on the horizon to experience more of these fascinating businesses.

Where to Stay Near Tin City

If you want to stay close to Tin City, a vacation rental is your best bet. There are some lovely options nearby that allow you to stay right in the vineyards and wake up to some amazing views. Check out the options below.

Author

  • Kirsten Kohlwey

    Kirsten Kohlwey is a global traveler who started her career as a software engineer and then transitioned into being a translator, writer, photographer and artist. She loves living in the mountains of Utah with the moose and learning new skills along the way.