Many San Diegans aren’t happy that Anheuser-Busch InBev-funded 10 Barrel Brewing Company will soon open in the East Village, and the war of words has intensified in recent weeks.
A “San Diego Beer Fan” — now identified as Robert Esparza, a local beer festival organizer — came up with the idea to fly a banner reading “10 Barrel Is Not Craft Beer” over the company’s fundraiser block party this Saturday. A crowdfunding campaign posted on May 13 surpassed the $900 goal in four hours, reaching $2,015 as of this afternoon.
The chartered plane will take off from Gillespie Field in El Cajon around 5:30 p.m. on Saturday, with the pilot planning to bring the banner within eyesight of 10 Barrel’s event between 6:15 and 6:30 p.m. The banner was recently amended to include the URL FakeCraftBeer.com, a website purchased by Esparza that links to a video by Whats On Draft TV denouncing the arrival of 10 Barrel, while promoting the release of 11 Barrel IPA, a collaboration beer made in protest by downtown brewpubs Monkey Paw, Resident, and Half Door. Starting on Sunday, a portion of proceeds from each pint of that beer will go to homeless and hunger causes in the neighborhood.
The San Diego Union-Tribune noted that “several donors to the GoFundMe campaign represent local beer interests. They include Pat McIlhenney, co-founder of Alpine Beer; Virginia Morrison, co-founder of Second Chance Beer; Pariah Brewing; Wiseguy Brewing; Thunderhawk Alements and even Rancho Cucamonga’s Kings Brewing.”
The story was picked up by 10 News reporters, who interviewed Esparza’s friend Brian Mitchell, proprietor of Pariah Brewing in North Park. “These guys [Anheuser-Busch InBev] aren’t buying these companies because they like them or want their products to do well, they’re buying them because they’re losing market share,” Mitchell told the station in a segment that aired on May 18. “So how do you beat your competitor? You buy your competition.” Mitchell and others point to illegal pay-to-play practices as additional reasons to reject A-B InBev and the breweries they own.
10 Barrel co-founder Garrett Wales provided this statement to 10 News regarding the controversy: “While we really appreciate these efforts increasing the awareness of the opening of the pub, it’s a shame these folks aren’t putting their time and money into more important civil causes and helping those truly in need. With that, we’ll be pouring some great beers on May 27th and hope many new friends come join us.”
And in a cheeky tweet, 10 Barrel referenced the aerial banner, saying, “We’re matching every $ raised for this campaign and giving it to @SDHungerCo & @SD_Coastkeeper. Lemonade anyone? ;)”
The responses incensed Esparza, who has shunned Anheuser-Busch and their stable of acquired breweries from participation at his events. “What they said was just another slap in the face of the local beer community,” he told West Coaster. “They’re acting like our local breweries haven’t been giving to charities for years, decades even. This just shows me how ignorant they are.”
– San Diego Reader’s report on 10 Barrel Brewing San Diego, which includes some interesting twists: 10 Barrel’s founders aren’t listed on the brewing license, but “Anheuser-Busch, LLC” is, along with new Bud Light VP Andy Goeler. Also, 10 Barrel will operate a 20-barrel brewhouse.
– Paste Magazine’s recent breakdown of the “BS Arguments of Craft Beer Sell-Outs” which is reminiscent of Modern Times’ blog post “What ‘Selling Out’ Is Actually About” published in September. Market Watch takes a markedly different perspective with “Opinion: Anheuser-Busch buys its 10th craft brewery, and the stigma of selling out wears off”
– Good Beer Hunting’s in-depth article “Watch the Hands, Not the Cards – The Magic of Megabrew”… although you can’t read that post if you follow “The Cut Off” list proposed by WeAreBrewStuds.com.
The Old Mission Beach Athletic Club (OMBAC), known for its annual Over-The-Line tournament, is adding a beer festival component into the mix this Saturday from noon to 4 p.m. at Mariners Point. This tournament is actually a pre-cursor to the World Championship, held in July. We caught up with OMBAC reps for more details:
Q: Why a beer festival?
A: This event is a fundraiser for the smaller events we do throughout the year that are not money making events. Some of those include OMSurf that benefits Junior Lifeguards, OMShoes which are horseshoe tournaments that benefit various cancer research centers (most recently UCSD Moores Cancer Research and the Helen Knoll Foundation which benefits breast cancer prevention for younger women). We are also a sponsor of the America’s Finest City Marathon, operating numerous “rainforests” which are misters set up for runners to cool down while staying on pace. We support dozens and dozens of local beneficiaries, and you can see a list here.
Q: Which breweries are joining?
Aztec, Ballast Point, Belching Beaver, Benchmark, Bitter Brothers, Bolt, Dos Desperados, Fall, Helms, Indian Joe, Ironfire, Iron Fist, Left Coast, Little Miss, Resident, and Second Chance. Cutwater will be serving cocktails. Food vendors include Tabe BBQ, Epic Eatz Food Truck, and Simply Fresh California Delicatessen.
Q: How much are tickets?
A: $30 pre-sale, or $40 at the door.
This Saturday from 2 – 6 p.m., Frydendall displays his work at the new lounge inside New English (11545 Sorrento Valley Rd. #305)
Join us and enjoy beer from 16 taps, including the recent gold medal winners Brewers Special Brown and Pacific Storm Stout.
Red or Green Cuisine will be on-site offering New Mexico-inspired food.
Beers made in San Diego earned 60 medals at the 2017 Los Angeles International Beer Competition (LAIBC). Additionally, seven beers were given honorable mentions. Check out the full list of winners here.
Early-bird tuition is available through April 14 at $1500, jumping to $1750 after that.
Two different programs are available, including the Craft Beer Connoisseur Camp, which is intensive preparation for industry exams such as Cicerone® and BJCP and runs July 26 – August 3, or the Brewery Startup Camp, which covers everything you need to know to launch a brewery, from August 4 – 12. Check out sample itineraries and more information at CES.SDSU.EDU/CraftBeerCamp