Earlier today, the City of San Diego invited local brewers to take part in a ceremony honoring them and their organizational backbone, the San Diego Brewers Guild, when District 6 Councilmember Chris Cate officially declared November 7, 2017 as “20th Anniversary of the Brewers Guild Day” in San Diego. Receiving a City of San Diego proclamation is a celebratory event; a moment where the City pauses to recognize the positive work of influential organizations like the San Diego Brewers Guild.
“In its 20-year history, the San Diego Brewers Guild has played a crucial role in elevating and promoting San Diego’s craft-beer industry to become America’s capital of craft,” says Ian Clampett, deputy chief of staff and policy director for councilmember Cate. “By creating a platform to bring awareness and attention to all local craft breweries, the Guild has helped the industry expand to new heights with now 130 breweries operating county-wide and generating nearly one billion dollars in economic impact in 2016. The Guild has also been effective in advocating for legislation that protects this local manufacturing industry and ensures its ability to continue creating good-paying jobs for San Diegans.”
Cate and his staff have been a long-time supporter of local brewing companies. Though the majority of his work with local breweries is with those within his district, which includes Kearny Mesa, Miramar, Mira Mesa and Sorrento Valley, he is aware of the positive economic and job-creation impact breweries throughout the city and the rest of the county.
“Local breweries have created places of gathering and community throughout District 6, revitalizing areas traditionally seen as solely commercial or industrial,” says Clampett. “The Miramar neighborhood has been nicknamed ‘Beeramar’ and is now a regional and global attraction given [its] large number of world-class, award-winning breweries. With more than 30 breweries located in District 6—the highest concentration in the City of San Diego—craft beer has become an intrinsic part of the community fabric that makes this area of San Diego truly special.”
The timing of the proclamation was planned to coincide with San Diego Beer Week, a ten-day span during which hundreds of beer-related events and promotions take place throughout the county. Beer Week runs throughout Sunday, November 12.
“The Guild’s Beer Week is the largest annual event and attracts thousands of visitors from across the globe to sample San Diego’s thriving craft-beer scene. Through this event, local brewers are provided the unique opportunity to expand their reach and showcase their products to San Diegans and visitors alike,” says Clampett. “Furthermore, the Guild is fulfilling its mission to be a community partner by currently working with Councilmember Cate and the University of California, San Diego to explore opportunities to repurpose spent grain as a renewable energy source that can help the City of San Diego reach its climate action goals and eliminate landfill waste.”
Says the councilmember’s communications manager Rebecca Kelley, “The proclamation is an official City document signed by the Mayor and full City Council. It means that the Brewers Guild is part of San Diego’s history.”
From the Beer Writer: The impact of the local brewing industry is resonating at City Hall, where visionary public servants are seeing the job creation and fiscal boost craft beer brings to America’s Finest City. Particularly bullish on local brewers and working to do all he can to advocate on behalf of the craftspeople within his constituency is Chris Cate, City councilmember for District 6. Encompassing Miramar, Mira Mesa, Sorrento Mesa and Kearny Mesa, D6 is home to more breweries than any other district—or any municipality in San Diego County—with 21 (and more on the way in the form of Amplified Ale Works, Pure Project Brewing and Mikkeller San Diego). In celebration of San Diego Beer Week, Cate wanted a local brewery to craft a specialty beer to represent the region, and reached out to AleSmith Brewing Company CEO and brewmaster Peter Zien to do the honors. The result is this 4.2% alcohol-by-volume (ABV), session-strength Belgian-style saison. It’s the only farmhouse ale AleSmith has brewed in its 20 years of operation, making this a first for the company, the District and the City.
From the Brewer: “After 20 happy years of calling San Diego home, the brewers at AleSmith decided to conjure something special for one of the biggest champions of the local beer scene to come out of City Hall, District 6 councilmember Chris Cates. A unique ale style from the farmlands of Belgium known as “saison” was our choice to honor San Diego’s brewery-rich Sixth District. District 6 Session Saison is a light copper-colored ale with a relatively low ABV. Mildly hoppy with a tantalizing combination of spices, the aroma and flavor contain hints of lemon, citrus fruit and mild pepper. Designed for easy drinking with a complexity generated from European hops, spices and a Belgian yeast strain procured from our District 6 neighbors at White Labs, this saison pays tribute to our councilmember, our district and all of our fellow brewers within it.”—Peter Zien, CEO & Brewmaster, AleSmith Brewing Co.
NOTE: In addition to his work as Editor-at-Large for West Coaster, Brandon Hernández is also the Marketing Manager for AleSmith Brewing Co.
Studies of San Diego’s brewing industry have shown that there has been a 40% increase in the number of local craft beer-related jobs dating back to 2011. Additionally, local breweries reported a whopping $781.5 million in total beer sales in 2013. Statistics like these bolster the legitimacy and importance of San Diego’s brewing industry. Those numbers—and numerous high-quality local beers—have the full attention of City Councilman Chris Cate, who aims to work with the many brewers in his district (which covers the communities of Miramar, Kearny Mesa. Mira Mesa and Sorrento Valley) to help bring even more attention to their companies and help rise the proverbial tide. We caught up with him—over beer, of course—and asked about his inspiration and early efforts on his initiatives.
How did you become aware of the impact of brewing companies to San Diego’s economy, particularly in District 6?
I am a lifelong San Diegan and I’ve witnessed firsthand the craft beer industry thrive and small local craft breweries become nationally-known brands. There is a movement and desire both in and out of San Diego for our craft beer and I feel fortunate to represent a district that produces a majority of the beer. San Diego is the epicenter of the craft brewing industry and my goal is to brand District 6 as the go-to destination for craft beer.
Please explain the genesis of your plan to assist local breweries and help raise their visibility and prominence.
From Day One of my campaign, this has been a priority. I am an advocate for small business, job creation and economic development, and this is a serious industry that creates jobs and generates revenue for the City via sales and business tax. In addition to promoting entrepreneurship, there is a significant market for craft beer tourism. As a City leader, I feel I can provide a pathway to bring breweries together and highlight the great beer they make. We have a lot of breweries that are operating close to each other and an increase of visitors to the area will benefit everyone. My vision is to make these clusters a craft beer destination for beer lovers across the country.
Where are you in this process currently?
I am in the process of meeting with every one of the nearly 30 breweries in my district. I have met with over half and have received great feedback regarding our ideas. They all have different challenges and priorities depending on size, years of operation and the type of beer they brew, but they understand what is good for the industry as a whole is good for them. The one consistent thing I hear is that they are doing what they love to do and want to continue to do business here is San Diego.
What do you see as an ideal future for local breweries and how can the City help get those businesses there?
More and more entrepreneurs and enthusiasts are finding reasons to relocate and call San Diego home. As we continue to develop the craft beer sector of San Diego’s innovation economy, the City must continue to advance comprehensive economic development policies to attract, retain and expand these manufacturers. I believe there is an opportunity for the City to create strategic partnerships with industry leaders and local universities to educate and equip the next generation of craft brewers. San Diego is an extraordinary, growing market. There is only room to grow and I see a bright future for this industry.
What can San Diegans do to help breweries?
San Diegans are doing a great job supporting this industry already. It is great when you go to Petco Park or the San Diego County Fair and see craft beer being served and enjoyed. I would encourage San Diegans to visit some of the smaller breweries that do not get the attention of the larger breweries like Stone and AleSmith. Visiting the actual breweries is a way to try some of the experimental and off-the-shelf creations that you cannot get at the market. I also encourage folks to enjoy beer responsibly and in moderation.
What are some favorite beers from your district and where in your district do you like to enjoy them?
I’m always learning about different types of beer and what I enjoy, but if I had to choose a couple of “go-to” beers, they would probably be AleSmith’s X extra pale ale or Societe’s The Publican hoppy ale. A great spot where you’ll more than likely find me meeting with folks is Common Theory Public House on Convoy Street in Kearny Mesa. They showcase great beers and have delicious food.