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Posts by Ryan Lamb

CCBA, SDBG Voice Opposition to SB-1426

Jun 22

A bill making its way through the California Senate is being opposed by trade organizations such as the California Craft Brewers Association (CCBA) and the San Diego Brewers Guild (SDBG).

The bill, SB-1426, would essentially legalize compensation to retailers for alcoholic beverage promotion and marketing activities. Tom McCormick, executive director of the CCBA, sent this statement to West Coaster: “As it is written, SB-1426 raises obvious concerns about the creation of payola in the marketplace, essentially allowing manufacturers to legally engage in pay-to-play practices for the first time since the Prohibition. This would be devastating to the craft brewing industry and would dramatically reduce the variety of craft beers on the shelf that consumers now enjoy.”

SB 1426--Oppose Letter--SD Councilman Chris CateMcCormick continued, saying “the CCBA is opposed to this legislation as it is currently written, however, we have suggested amendments to the bill that would solve the issue for DIAGEO’s celebrity spokesperson without opening the door to additional erosion of tied-house laws in California. These amendments have not been accepted so we remain strongly opposed to this bill.”

Mike Sardina, SDBG President, furthered by saying that “per the directive of the CCBA, members of the San Diego Brewers Guild are in active opposition to SB-1426.” He added that citizens can “call your Assembly Member and let them know that you are an enthusiast of craft beer and the breweries in San Diego, and that if passed, SB-1426 will be very bad for craft breweries in the county.”

San Diego’s Councilmember Chris Cate, of the city’s sixth district, was originally contacted by 32 North Brewing about the bill and has sent his letter of opposition to Adam C. Gray, Chair of the Assembly Committee on Governmental Organization, where the bill currently sits and is being heard soon. His letter is posted above.

Senator Joel Anderson of California’s 38th District, which includes large portions of eastern San Diego County, voted in opposition to the bill on the Senate floor on June 1.

Karl Strauss Named Top California Brewery

May 25

At the California Travel Summit award ceremony this month, Karl Strauss was named Brewery of the Year for 2016 by the California Travel (CalTravel) Association for its role in developing the state’s tourism brand. In 2015, Firestone Walker received the award, preceded by Russian River in 2014 and Sierra Nevada in 2013.

The San Diego-based brewery, which got its start in 1989, began distributing beer outside Southern California in the summer of 2012.

Within the state, the company has brewery restaurants in Downtown San Diego, La Jolla, Sorrento Mesa, Costa Mesa, 4S Ranch, Temecula, Universal City Walk, and a recently-remodeled Carlsbad location. Karl Strauss’ brewing headquarters just east of Pacific Beach now includes a tasting room and beer garden, while Disney fans can find their products at a beer truck inside the California Adventure theme park.


Karl Strauss CEO & Co-Founder, Chris Cramer

CalTravel noted that several company leaders reside on the boards of key support groups such as the San Diego Brewers Guild, California Craft Brewers Association, and the San Diego Tourism Authority.

Karl Strauss was ranked #46 on the Brewers Association’s list of the top 50 craft breweries by sales volume in 2015.

“We are humbled and honored to be recognized for the mark we’ve made in the development of California’s rich craft beer culture and beer tourism. We take a lot of pride in our San Diego roots and have always made an effort to support our community in the way we represent our brand and the ways we give back through our service,” said Matt Rattner, the brewery’s President & Co-Founder. Karl Strauss CEO & Co-Founder, Chris Cramer, was in attendance to accept the award.

Ballast Point Building $48M Virginia Brewery

May 24

As reported by The Roanoke Times today, Ballast Point Brewing & Spirits is planning to build a $48 million brewery on a 259,000-square-foot site in Botetourt County, Virginia. The expansion will create roughly 175 jobs on-site, 540 secondary jobs, and a $375 million annual economic impact, according to projections from the Roanoke Regional Partnership.

“In our quest to provide the best quality, freshest beer to all of our customers, an East Coast brewery started to make a lot of sense to us,” Ballast Point founder Jack White said in a written statement.

ballastpoint_logo_t670_t658Ballast Point is the third San Diego-based brewery to pick Virginia for an East Coast brewery site, following Stone (Richmond), and Green Flash (Virginia Beach); those breweries are currently being built out.

Water availability and quality played a key factor in the decision. “We are able to welcome Ballast Point to Botetourt County because of the decision by the Board of Supervisors in 2015 to join the Western Virginia Water Authority,” said Botetourt County Board of Supervisors Chairman Jack Leffel. Water for the authority comes from the nearby Carvins Cove reservoir, instead of the mineral-rich water previously available to tenants in the Greenfield area.

According to reports, Ballast Point will receive a $2.4 million grant from the Commonwealth’s Opportunity Fund to assist with the project. The company will also be eligible for a $250,000 grant from the governor’s Agriculture and Forest Industries Development Fund. Additionally, Botetourt County will provide about $1.4 million in tax incentives, along with performance grants estimated at $650,000.

Ballast Point Brewing got their start in 1996 as an offshoot of supply shop Home Brew Mart (1992), and the company now employs more than 500 people across four facilities in San Diego. The brewery was acquired by Constellation Brands in November for a record-breaking $1 billion. This past month, Ballast Point won two World Beer Cup awards, announced a Long Beach brewpub, and was crowned Champion Large International Brewery at the Australian International Beer Awards.

Ocean Beach Update

May 20

via @westcoastersd Instagram

The coastal community of Ocean Beach continues to make a name for itself in the #sdbeer world with the addition of a third satellite tasting room: Helms Brewing (4896 Newport Avenue). 16 beers are now on tap in the 1,100 square-foot space which opened this week; hours of operation are 12 p.m. to 10 p.m. from Sunday through Thursday, and 12 p.m. to midnight on Fridays and Saturdays.

Helms joins established satellite tasting rooms for brewing operations Culture Brewing Co. and Mike Hess Brewing Co., located at 4845 Newport Avenue and 4893 Voltaire Street, respectively.

Just up the street from Helms is the planned location for Belching Beaver’s second satellite spot (4836 Newport Avenue); the prospective opening date is not yet known.

As for actual brewing locations, the Pizza Port brewpub (1956 Bacon Street) just celebrated their sixth anniversary this past weekend. The party continues on Sunday with a coffee-inspired beer brunch from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Opening next weekend is the long-awaited OB Brewery (5051 Newport Avenue), owned by the same people who operate Newport Pizza and Alehouse, located across the street.

17 Things To Know About Suds County 2

May 11

In 2012, film producer Sheldon Kaplan released SUDS COUNTY, USA — a feature-length documentary focused on San Diego Beer — to audiences in San Diego and around the world. He had been working on the project for years with a shoe-string budget, and now, a second film — SUDS COUNTY 2: The Boil Over — is in the works. Here are 17 things to know about the project:

1. The crew includes three local Emmy award winners: Kevin Tostado (Under the Boardwalk: The Monopoly Story), Mike Towe (Editor), and Reagan Matthews (Production Consultant).

2. Full-scale filming is scheduled to begin in June, continuing through the fall. The movie will be released some time in late spring 2017.

3. Filmmakers are planning to use as much local San Diego music as possible, as they did in the original movie.

4. A version of the film will be released in full 4K resolution.

5. The budget for the film is estimated between $250,000 and $300,000.

6. To raise funds, director/producer Sheldon Kaplan and co-producer Kevin Tostado are turning to Kickstarter for a campaign that will run April 25 through May 20. The Kickstarter campaign can be accessed by searching on Kickstarter or by going to

Vino Carta_Rd1-0
7. Eventually, SUDS COUNTY 2 will be available on iTunes and Amazon Video on Demand, assuming the Kickstarter campaign reaches its goal.

8. The film is a labor of love. The producers say the budget above is “the bare minimum to tell the story we want to tell,” and that by the end of production they will have worked for less than minimum wage.

9. Rewards will range from t-shirts, to download keys for the first Suds, to exclusive brew days at local breweries. The goal is to encourage community involvement, as this project is as much about education as it is about entertainment.

10. The spine of the film focuses on the evolution of the San Diego IPA over the past 30 years, including the various shifts of the style internally.

11. The crew is planning to grab footage at several California breweries helmed by former San Diegans, including LA’s Arts District Brewing, where former Pizza Port San Clemente brewer Devon Randall is plying her trade; Monterey’s Alvarado Street, where Amplified Ales co-founder J.C. Hill brewed a GABF gold medal-winning IPA in 2015; and Paso Robles’ Silva Brewing Co, founded by former Green Flash brewmaster Chuck Silva.

12. Elsewhere in the United States, light will be shed on Mother Earth’s Idaho project; Stone’s new brewery in Richmond, Virginia; Green Flash’s outfit in Virginia Beach, Virginia; and Wyoming’s Melvin Brewing, where former San Diegan Kirk McHale’s acclaimed 2×4 double IPA is heavily influenced by his time here.

13. International travel plans include visiting Stone Brewing Berlin; White Labs’ operation in Copenhagen, Denmark; plus trips to the Netherlands and the UK, where San Diego has a stellar reputation. They plan to visit Brasserie St-Feuillien in Belgium where Green Flash’s West Coast IPA recipe is brewed for distribution throughout Western Europe.

14. If they meet Kickstarter “stretch goals” the producers will fly to Japan to document the huge amount of San Diego beer being imported into the country with a local crew. In Saitama-ken Kawagoe-shi, brewery COEDO has created multiple collaborations with Ballast Point and Coronado Brewing Co.

15. Baja brewers will get their time in the spotlight, as many say that San Diego has been the incubator for their craft breweries. Producers met with Baja brewers at the recent Ensenada Beer Fest, where some San Diego breweries were pouring beer as well.

16. Local coffee roasters who have collaborated with local breweries will also be featured, as well as their rise which has mirrored that of San Diego beer. Several local beers feature local coffee, while Modern Times even has their own roaster and sells coffee online.

17. San Diego’s legendary homebrewing club QUAFF will receive special attention in regard to recent breweries that have been founded by club members, a long and ongoing QUAFF tradition. An especially large number of San Diego pro brewers were/are members, including Tod Fitzsimmons, Bill Batten, Anthony Chen, Jeff Campbell, Ryan Crisp, Bryan Crecely, Skip Virgilio, Ted Newcomb, and Peter Zien (AleSmith), Pat McIlhenney (Alpine Beer Co.), Scott Stamp and Lee Doxtader (Callahan’s, San Diego Brewing), Paul Segura and Sean Albrecht (Karl Strauss Brewing Co.), Chris White (White Labs), Jim Crute (Lightning Brewery), Dan Selis (Mission Brewery), Doug Duffield and George Cautaulin (Ballast Point), Dean Rouleau (Prodigy Brewing Co.), Doug Constantiner (Societe Brewing Co.), Matt, Rachael and Jim Akin (Benchmark Brewing Co.), Mark Purciel (Oceanside Ale Works), Paul Sangster, Guy Shobe, Alex Stevens and Chris Stawney (Rip Current Brewing Co.), Bill Randolph and Pat Horton (Stumblefoot Brewing Co.), Alex Van Horne (Intergalactic Brewing Co.), Derek Gallanosa (Abnormal Beer Co.), Tom Nickel (Nickel Beer Co.), Liz Chism, Curtis Chism and Jeffrey Crane (Council Brewing Co.), Peter Perrecone (Belching Beaver Brewing Co.), Brett Goldstock (Duck Foot Brewing Co.), Jonathan Wise (32 North Brewing Co.), George Thornton (The Home Brewing Co.), Jeff Wiederkehr (Burning Beard), Joaquin Basari, Marcel Favela and Martin Favela (Border X Brewing Co.), Ray Astamendi (Fall Brewing Co.), Kevin Rhodes (Groundswell Brewing Co.), Stan Sisson (Julian CiderWorks), and Kelsey McNair (North Park Beer Co.).

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