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Posts by Ryan Lamb

Magnetic Brewing evicted from Kearny Mesa

Aug 4

Via Mark P./Yelp

Opened in August of 2015, Kearny Mesa’s Magnetic Brewing will not be celebrating a second anniversary this month. An eviction noticed was recently posted at the Cabrillo Commerce Center on Magnatron Blvd.

Multiple requests for comment from Magnetic’s Morgan McCarty went unanswered.  

Last August, the 1.5-barrel nano-brewery started a GoFundMe crowdfunding campaign offering 1% equity in the company in exchange for $6,000.

The campaign was subsequently taken down, with McCarty admitting in a Facebook post that “Gofundme has deleted the campaign because you’re not supposed to offer securities through their site.” 

West Coaster will follow up when more information becomes available.

Update 8/18: Ian Anderson @ San Diego Reader wrote a follow-up story to this report. The information he presents has not been independently verified by West Coaster.

1st Annual Indie Invitational: Monday, August 7

Aug 1

Veteran local beer bar TapRoom teams up with Thorn Brewing Co. and more San Diego breweries for an “Indie Invitational” golf event benefiting Keep A Breast this coming Monday at Riverwalk Golf Club.

TapRoom owners and brothers Kevin and Kyle Conover, along with Thorn’s director of sales and logistics Tom Kiely, decided to kick off this annual tournament as a way to align their interests.

“As big beer continues its assault on the craft beer market, it is becoming more important for independent breweries to come together,” says Kevin. “Keep A Breast is an awesome organization with a history working with local craft beer, so it seemed like a good fit.”

100% of Monday’s proceeds will go to the non-profit organization that brings awareness to methods of prevention and early detection of breast cancer.

The $100 entry fee per golfer includes beer from Thorn, The Lost Abbey, AleSmith, Second Chance, Karl Strauss, Pizza Port, and Resident, plus a Keep A Breast shirt, cart rental, range balls, and a BBQ buffet with a raffle and awards ceremony for the various contest winners.

Modern Times now 30% employee-owned

Jul 7

Modern Times Beer announced today that 30 percent of the company is now held in an employee stock ownership plan (ESOP), through the repurchase of shares held by outside investors.

Majority owner Jacob McKean says “this is my single proudest achievement as Founder & CEO of Modern Times.” A press release stated that “it is the goal of Modern Times to work towards 100 percent employee ownership.” The ESOP deal structure was facilitated by Ambrose Advisors, with Neil Brozen of Ventura ESOP Fiduciary Services overseeing the ESOP in an independent role.

The four-year-old brewery is the first in California with this business model. Other brands include Boston’s Harpoon, Fort Collins’ New Belgium and Odell, and Bend’s Deschutes.

“Modern Times is proof that a start-up brewery can compete and win in the craft beer market without selling out, all the while taking outstanding care of our employees and rewarding our investors,” says McKean, who wrote more about the decision in today’s blog post.

SD Surfrider’s Sudsy Connections

Jun 9

The San Diego chapter of the Surfrider Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to the protection and enjoyment of oceans, waves and beaches, has long been connected to the local beer community.

For more than a decade Surfrider has provided volunteers for Stone Brewing’s anniversary festival, the twenty-first of which is coming up in August. 100% of the ticket proceeds for that event go to charity, and Surfrider SD is one of the beneficiaries.

Surfrider also collaborates with Coronado Brewing on CoastWise Session IPA, while Karl Strauss hosts their quarter meetings at the Pacific Beach location.

Via Instagram @surfridersandiego

Now, even international breweries are getting involved. Costa Rica’s Cerveza Imperial is partnering with Surfrider for a beach clean-up tomorrow, June 10, from 3 – 4:30 p.m. at the Imperial Beach Pier. Additionally, the brewery is helping fund a part-time bilingual policy manager for Surfrider who will work on the No Border Sewage Program and the Tijuana River Valley Recovery Strategy.

Cerveza Imperial touts itself as the world’s “first and only water positive beer” backed by international guidelines, reviews and verification. Here’s how they do the math:

  • Measure. Analyze and measure the entire production water footprint including all suppliers and water used in the distribution process.
  • Reduce. Once a benchmark is established, the operation team develops processes that reduce water usage in the brewing, fermenting and packaging process, achieving an average 44 percent reduction in water usage over the last nine years while increasing production 70 percent.
  • Compensation. The third step is “offsetting” water being used in the production process and supply chain by “returning” water to the eco-system for water use. Cerveza Imperial protects more than 600 hectares (1,482 acres) of the Costa Rican tropical forest that are critical in trapping rainwater, recharging the natural water basins and protecting the quality of the water by reducing runoff.
  • Create Positive Value. Cerveza Imperial partners with local non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to improve access to fresh water, conserve fresh water, clean fresh water, and sustain fresh water.

That fourth point is where Surfrider San Diego comes in. In addition to Saturday’s event, stay tuned for Cervera Imperial’s Goat Canyon clean-up event during Tijuana River Action Month held in both September and October.

The War of Words Intensifies Before 10 Barrel’s Debut

May 22

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, 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.

Screenshot from 10 News

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? ;)”

Via Twitter @10BarrelBrewing

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.”

Further Reading:

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

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