Respect the Craft!

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Societe IV : Let the Games Begin!

2016 has been something a weird year for me in the world of craft beer. I have never had to defend my own personal opinions from other beer drinkers in the way that I have had to do since January when the usage of the term “indie beer” got exposure on a quasi-national level. It marked something of a turning point for me as I realized that the craft beer world was not quite not the shiny, happy place that I had turned it into in my mind. In short my love affair was under something of a strain.

So leave it to Societe Brewing to host an event that not only delivers the goods on every level but helps to rekindle the fires of my passion for this elixir that I love so much.

Societe Brewing has been one of my favorite breweries since they opened their doors four years ago. Honestly, Societe is probably my personal favorite but the thought of trying to rank breweries in San Diego is not only daunting but counterproductive to the harmony and unity between breweries in the area. Those ideas of harmony and a collaborative spirit between breweries was proudly on display at Societe’s fourth anniversary party this past Saturday, known simply as Societe IV.IMG_7095

Part of the fun with anniversary parties at Societe has been that every year is something new and they are continually raising the bar. This year will be a hard one to beat. Incorporating an Olympics theme, complete with a torch and a parade of the “Ale-thletes” to start the event, Societe invited nearly two dozen breweries (and one-man team Nate Soroko) from all over San Diego and one from Northern California to compete in a variety of brewers games, including a washer toss tournament, grain stacking challenge, tri-clamp challenge, Beer Chugging, Stein Holding and even an impressive barrel throwing event, which for those who are not sure, a barrel weighs right around 90 pounds and is not the easiest thing to throw for distance, but was a sight to behold. The spirit of camaraderie and friendship were on display for all to see and take part in and the fun that these folks were having was simply infectious as it was impossible to find someone not having a great time.IMG_7098

As fun as all the games were to watch and enjoy rooting for your favorite local brewers, we also came for the beers. I found several new treats to savor while enjoying all the festivities the day had to offer. New variations of The Bachelor, their single hop IPA series, included Nugget, Calypso and Idaho 7 while The Bachelorette, their single hop lager, introduced the Sterling varietal. To round out the new beers was the first Societe witbier, The Filly. Suffice to say everything was incredibly enjoyable and of the highest quality.

What came as perhaps the biggest surprise of the entire day, and announced only a few hours before the event, was the opportunity to purchase their very first bottled beer, a feral ale called The Swindler. As someone who was lucky enough to have this beer during the Societe 3 event last year, I can attest to its absolute incredibleness.IMG_7103

At four years in Societe is continuing to showcase not only their excellence at brewing but at displaying the strong sense of community between an incredible number of local San Diego breweries. In a lot of ways I was filled with a great deal of pride, even if my connection to the brewing industry is tangential at best, the event left me invigorated and rejuvenated. So cheers to Societe and all the Ale-thletes, I hope this one becomes a tradition, but even if it doesn’t, I will still be there to give all the support I can.



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Copenhagen to San Diego: Good Beer Knows No Boundries

In case you have somehow missed the news about Mikkeller San Diego opening its door this past weekend, I offer my own humble report for your perusal.
First off, I love this place. Walking in, you still recognize the bones of the old Alesmith. They have since moved to a brand new and massive brewery space just a little further down Miramar Rd. Yet Mikkeller (Originally out of Copenhagen, Denmark) has made the site very much its own. The tasting room area is cozy with plush couches and tables making for a very welcoming tasting room experience. It is hard not to feel both welcome and very comfortable as you walk in and take in the feel of the place. The lighting was low and added a special ambiance to the space, and while it was a packed house with long lines for beers, the environment was so relaxed that most people were very good about simply having a good time and not making a fuss about the wait.  IMG_6799
On this opening weekend the beer menu was full of variety, something for everyone so that even if you were not a fan of or had never even tried Mikkeller before, there was very little reason for a person to not find something to their liking. From a hoppy pilsner, big IPA’s, to dark Belgian delights, to the legendary Beer Geek Breakfast Stout, the draft list and killer, and with Mikkeller being known as a man who is not shy about putting a beer recipe together, there are literally thousands of option that exist and will eventually see its time on the board at some point.
A quick history for this not familiar with Mikkeller (also known as Mikel Bjorg Bjergso). He is what is known as a “Gypsy Brewer”. It simply means (prior to this opening) he did not have a dedicated location for brewing his recipes. He would travel to other breweries and either do it himself, or let that brewery team pull it together according to his instructions. San Diego is his first steady base of brewing operations. Perhaps the smartest, and from a local perspective, the best decision he made (aside from setting up in San Diego) was the hiring of Bill Batten.
Bill Batten is the man who has helped make Alesmith Brewing what it is today.IMG_6803
So if you are going to hire a brewer to work in the old Alesmith Brewery, you might as well bring on the guy who knows how to get the most out of that particular brewing system. It should be noted, that Alesmith is a parter in this venture, so the idea of Bill being the brewer should not come as a total shock.
On this opening trip, the crowd was lively, the beer was tasty and much like the warm sunny weather on this opening day, the future for Mikkeller SD looks to be very bright and I cannot recommend enough taking a visit to check it out for your self.

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Four San Diego breweries claim spots in the top 50 for Craft Beer sales in 2015

Released today by the Brewers Association, this information provides a valuable look at how the sales of craft beer are impacting the market as more and more local breweries make a name for themselves on a national level.

It is also hard to look at this list and not notice the breweries who will be left off of it this time next year when the are removed due to their acquisition by larger macro breweries.

Still, the silver lining is that the market for quality craft beer made by local, independent brewers continues to grow and that should be applauded, well done to the men and women who are making great beer to be enjoyed by all.

Brewers Association Lists Top 50 Breweries of 2015


Boulder, CO • April 5, 2016 – The Brewers Association (BA)—the not-for-profit trade group representing small and independent craft brewers—today released its annual lists of the top 50 craft and overall brewing companies in the U.S., based on beer sales volume. Of the top 50 overall brewing companies, 43 were craft brewing companies.¹


“The top U.S. brewers continue to drive demand, growth, innovation and exponential interest in beers from small and independent brewers,” said Bart Watson, chief economist, Brewers Association. “With a historic record number of breweries in U.S., the top brewers continue to open new markets and expose beer drinkers to a variety of fuller-flavored styles and offerings.”


Top 50 U.S. Craft Brewing Companies

(Based on 2015 beer sales volume*)

Download Map Here


Brewing Company City State
1 D. G. Yuengling and Son, Inc Pottsville PA
2 Boston Beer Co Boston MA
3 Sierra Nevada Brewing Co Chico CA
4 New Belgium Brewing Co Fort Collins CO
5 Gambrinus San Antonio TX
6 Lagunitas Brewing Co* Petaluma CA
7 Bell’s Brewery, Inc Kalamazoo MI
8 Deschutes Brewery Bend OR
9 Minhas Craft Brewery Monroe WI
10 Stone Brewing Co Escondido CA
11 Ballast Point Brewing & Spirits* San Diego CA
12 Brooklyn Brewery Brooklyn NY
13 Firestone Walker Brewing Co Paso Robles CA
14 Oskar Blues Brewing Holding Co Longmont CO
15 Duvel Moortgat USA Kansas City & Cooperstown MO/NY
16 Dogfish Head Craft Brewery Milton DE
17 Matt Brewing Co Utica NY
18 SweetWater Brewing Co Atlanta GA
19 Harpoon Brewery Boston MA
20 New Glarus Brewing Co New Glarus WI
21 Great Lakes Brewing Co Cleveland OH
22 Alaskan Brewing Co. Juneau AK
23 Abita Brewing Co Abita Springs LA
24 Anchor Brewing Co San Francisco CA
25 Stevens Point Brewery Co Stevens Point WI
26 Victory Brewing Co Downingtown PA
27 August Schell Brewing Co New Ulm MN
28 Long Trail Brewing Co Bridgewater Corners VT
29 Summit Brewing Co Saint Paul MN
30 Shipyard Brewing Co Portland ME
31 Full Sail Brewing Co Hood River OR
32 Odell Brewing Co Fort Collins CO
33 Southern Tier Brewing Co Lakewood NY
34 Rogue Ales Brewery Newport OR
35 21st Amendment Brewery Bay Area CA
36 Ninkasi Brewing Co Eugene OR
37 Flying Dog Brewery Frederick MD
38 Narragansett Brewing Co Providence RI
39 Left Hand Brewing Company Longmont CO
40 Uinta Brewing Co Salt Lake City UT
41 Green Flash Brewing Co San Diego CA
42 Allagash Brewing Co Portland ME
43 Lost Coast Brewery Eureka CA
44 Bear Republic Brewing Co Cloverdale CA
45 Troegs Brewing Co Hershey PA
46 Karl Strauss Brewing Co San Diego CA
47 Breckenridge Brewery* Littleton CO
48 North Coast Brewing Co Inc. Fort Bragg CA
49 Four Peaks Brewing Co* Tempe AZ
50 Revolution Brewing Co Chicago IL
*Craft volume pro-rated in 2015 or will be pro-rated/exiting craft brewer data set in 2016


Top 50 U.S. Overall Brewing Companies2

(Based on 2015 beer sales volume)


Rank Brewing Company City State
1 Anheuser-Busch, Inc (a) Saint Louis MO
2 MillerCoors (b) Chicago IL
3 Pabst Brewing Co (c) Los Angeles CA
4 D. G. Yuengling and Son Inc Pottsville PA
5 Boston Beer Co (d) Boston MA
6 North American Breweries (e) Rochester NY
7 Sierra Nevada Brewing Co Chico CA
8 New Belgium Brewing Co Fort Collins CO
9 Craft Brew Alliance (f) Portland OR
10 Lagunitas Brewing Co (g) Petaluma CA
11 Gambrinus (h) San Antonio TX
12 Bell’s Brewery, Inc (i) Kalamazoo MI
13 Deschutes Brewery Bend OR
14 Minhas Craft Brewery (j) Monroe WI
15 Stone Brewing Co Escondido CA
16 Sleeman Brewing Co (k) LaCrosse WI
17 Ballast Point Brewing & Spirits (l) San Diego CA
18 Brooklyn Brewery Brooklyn NY
19 Firestone Walker Brewing Co (m) Paso Robles CA
20 Founders Brewing Co Grand Rapids MI
21 Oskar Blues Brewing Holding Co (n) Longmont CO
22 Duvel Moortgat USA (o) Kansas City MO
23 Dogfish Head Craft Brewery Milton DE
24 Matt Brewing Co (p) Utica NY
25 SweetWater Brewing Co Atlanta GA
26 Harpoon Brewery Boston MA
27 New Glarus Brewing Co New Glarus WI
28 Great Lakes Brewing Co Cleveland OH
29 Alaskan Brewing Co Juneau AK
30 Abita Brewing Co Abita Springs LA
31 Anchor Brewing Co San Francisco CA
32 Stevens Point Brewery Co (q) Stevens Point WI
33 Victory Brewing Co Downingtown PA
34 August Schell Brewing Co (r) New Ulm MN
35 Long Trail Brewing Co (s) Bridgewater Corners VT
36 Summit Brewing Co Saint Paul MN
37 Shipyard Brewing Co (t) Portland ME
38 Full Sail Brewing Co Hood River OR
39 Odell Brewing Co Fort Collins CO
40 Southern Tier Brewing Co Lakewood NY
41 Rogue Ales Brewery Newport OR
42 21st Amendment Brewery Bay Area CA
43 Ninkasi Brewing Co Eugene OR
44 Flying Dog Brewery Frederick MD
45 Narragansett Brewing Co Providence RI
46 Pittsburgh Brewing Co (u) Pittsburgh PA
47 Left Hand Brewing Company Longmont CO
48 Uinta Brewing Co Salt Lake City UT
49 Green Flash Brewing Co San Diego CA
50 Allagash Brewing Co Portland ME

Download High Resolution Graphics Here

The Association’s full 2015 industry analysis, which shows regional trends and sales by individual breweries, will be published in the May/June issue of The New Brewer, available in May 2016.


For additional statistics, see the Brewers Association’s annual craft brewing industry growth report for 2015.

1 Figure based on companies that met craft brewer definition for all or part of 2015. An American craft brewer is small, independent and traditional. Small: Annual production of 6 million barrels of beer or less (approximately 3 percent of U.S. annual sales). Beer production is attributed to the rules of alternating proprietorships. Independent: Less than 25 percent of the craft brewery is owned or controlled (or equivalent economic interest) by an alcoholic beverage industry member that is not itself a craft brewer. Traditional:A brewer that has a majority of its total beverage alcohol volume in beers whose flavor derives from traditional or innovative brewing ingredients and their fermentation. Flavored malt beverages (FMBs) are not considered beers.

2Top 50 Overall U.S. Brewing Companies notes: (a) includes 10 Barrel, Bass, Beck’s, Blue Point, Bud Light, Budweiser, Busch, Golden Road (partial year) Goose Island, Elysian (partial year) Landshark, Michelob, Rolling Rock, Shock Top and Wild Series brands. Does not include partially owned Coastal, Craft Brew Alliance, Fordham, Kona, Old Dominion, Omission, Red Hook and Widmer Brothers brands; (b) includes A.C. Golden, Batch 19, Blue Moon, Colorado Native, Coors, Keystone, Killian’s, Leinenkugel’s, Miller, Saint Archer (partial year), and Tenth & Blake brands; (c) includes Pabst, Schlitz, Small Town, and 28+ other brand families; (d) includes Alchemy & Science and Sam Adams brands. Does not include Twisted Tea or Angry Orchard brands; (e) includes Dundee, Genesee, Labatt Lime, Magic Hat and Pyramid brands; (f) includes Kona, Omission, Red Hook and Widmer Brothers brands; (g) full year volume; craft rank reflects pro-rated volume due to sale of stake to Heineken (h) includes BridgePort, Shiner and Trumer brands; (i) includes Bell’s and Upper Hand brands; (j) includes Mountain Crest and 10 other brand families as well as export volume; (k) includes Sleeman and Sapporo brands as well as export volume; (l) volume will be pro-rated in 2016 data set due to sale to Constellation Brands; (m) will be part of control group with Duvel Moortgat USA starting in 2016; (n) includes Utah Brewers Cooperative and Perrin Brewing Company brands, will include Cigar City brands starting in 2016; (o) includes Boulevard and Ommegang brands; (p) includes Flying Bison, Saranac and Utica Club brands; (q) includes James Page, Point and Whole Hog brands; (r) includes Grain Belt and Schell’s brands; (s) includes Long Trail, Otter Creek, The Shed and Wolaver’s brands; (t) includes Casco Bay, Sea Dog and Shipyard brands; (u) includes Iron City and 17 other brand families.



About the Brewers Association

The Brewers Association is the not-for-profit trade association dedicated to small and independent American brewers, their beers and the community of brewing enthusiasts. The Brewers Association (BA) represents more than 70 percent of the brewing industry, and its members make more than 99 percent of the beer brewed in the U.S. The BA organizes events including the World Beer CupSMGreat American Beer Festival®Craft Brewers Conference & BrewExpo America®SAVOR: An American Craft Beer & Food Experience, Homebrew Con, National Homebrew Competition and American Craft Beer Week®. The BA publishes The New Brewer magazine and its Brewers Publications division is the largest publisher of contemporary and relevant brewing literature for today’s craft brewers and homebrewers.


Beer lovers are invited to learn more about the dynamic world of craft beer at CraftBeer.com and about homebrewing via the BA’s American Homebrewers Association. Follow us on Twitter.


The Brewers Association is an equal opportunity employer and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, gender, religion, age, disability, political beliefs, sexual orientation, or marital/familial status. The BA complies with provisions of Executive Order 11246 and the rules, regulations, and relevant orders of the Secretary of Labor.


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The Battle for the Soul of San Diego Indie Beer

At the end of 2015 big beer made a barrage of acquisitions in an effort to expand its portfolio of “craft” Brewers. The moves were significant, and showed that corporate beer is not planning to sit back and let its share of the market be reduced any longer.

On the local front San Diego felt the sting of losing two of its own local breweries as Saint Archer was purchased by Miller/Coors, and more devastatingly, Ballast Point selling for 1 Billion dollars to Constellation Brands i.e. Corona. 

Now with the news that 10 Barrel Brewing, a property of InBev that masquerades as still being a local, independent brewery based out of Bend, Oregon, will be opening a location in downtown San Diego’s East Village neighborhood it has become clear that big beer is no longer content to simply buy the competition. They want to bury it. 

10 Barrel sold to InBev in November of 2014. Since then big beer has made a concerted effort to aquire at least one indie Brewer in every major market of the western United States. They purchased Elysian in Seattle, Golden Road in Los Angeles, Saint Archer and Ballast Point here in San Diego, Four Peaks in Phoenix and Breckenridge Brewing in Colorado. 

By placing a brewpub in San Diego, InBev has shown that it will continue to rely on deception and outright lies to attempt to create a ruse to confuse and trick customers. It is shameful. This is an effort to severely damage the indie beer culture of San Diego and we cannot sit back and take it.

One of the many rewarding aspects of loving the local, independent beer scene of San Diego is the knowledge that your money is staying in San Diego and supporting small business. Your money is helping your neighbors, and not lineing the pockets of rich people who do not give a damn about the community of San Diego. They see our city as dollars signs. They know their product does not stand a chance when lined up against the world class beers brewed by many of our local, indie Brewers. Deception is the new strategy.

Recently on a trip to Portland, Oregon I spent a Saturday night hopping from brewpub to brewpub in the downtown area. After a few hours I stumbled upon the 10 Barrel location; it was packed. I was shocked. Portlanders are known for their being savvy when it comes to supporting local business over corporate greed. It opened my eyes to a few truths that I still wrestle with but two of those truths are that not only are InBev’s deceptions working, they are working very well even in a indie beer town like Portland.

The most dangerous weapon we possess in the revolution against big beer is a knowledgable consumer. It is now more important than ever that we, as consumers, take the time to learn who owns who and where our hard earned money is going. Big beer is betting that we are too lazy to bother with seeking out the truth. It is time to teach how wrong they are. 

One of the most interesting details of the proposed location for the corporate beer sell out is the proposed location; just a block away from local favorite and Great American Beer Festival gold medal winning Monkey Paw Brewing and Pub. While I do not know their reactions to the news, I do know this: Monkey Paw Owner Scot Blair and Head Brewer Cosimo Sorrentino are two of the best the San Diego independent beer community could hope to have on the front lines for this battle. These are two people that I will always have the backs of and the San Diego indie beer community will be right there with me. 

InBev just brought a knife to a gunfight.

Cheers and remember to keep your money local,


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The only Culture we need is Beer Culture.

The writing of this particular blog post has taken on several different iterations since first beginning to craft it. Initially I had planned to write a simple recap of where and what I drank while adventuring around the indie beer scene in Portland, Oregon. I decided that was boring, no matter how many different ways I tried to write it. The next attempt was to try to cover my trip and make a comparison between the beer cultures of Portland and San Diego. I wrote it, it came out pretty good. Then two questions occurred to me; first, does four days in Portland really qualify me to speak at length on the differences and similarities in the beer culture of Portland compared to San Diego? Secondly, is it really that important to write about the differences in the drinking cultures of these two fantastic cities? No, it doesn’t. Just like every list ever written that ranks the best indie beer cities or tries to tell you what the best IPA’s in the world are, it is all subjective and usually has some sort of bias on the part of the writer. That is why I am going to put this right out on front street:

San Diego is the best city for indie beer.

That is my opinion and I stand by it 100%. However my brother in Los Angeles might disagree. My friend Bobby in Portland may see it differently, just as my cousin Corrine in Denver, my father in Baltimore and my buddy Chris in San Francisco all probably believe their city is the best. Here is the best part though: they are all right. Yes, for every person who drinks and supports independent beer, the town they live in should be the best and they should be proud of it.

Trying to compare drinking cultures in different cities is a lot like comparing apples to a bunch of other apples. Each one has its own unique flavor, but they are still apples in the end. It is important to remember, each and every city can and should stand on its own without having to deal with comparisons to other places.

Independent beer often has the ability to showcase some of the best qualities of the culture in which it was brewed. Here in San Diego it is very easy to find beers that are bright, shiny and clear in their color, reflective of a typical warm summer day and the sun reflecting off the ocean. In Portland many of the beers are little darker in color, like the woods of the forests around them and the general pioneering history and embracing the natural world around them. With each city having its own distinct flavor and sense of style, it presents endless options for the indie beer drinker who likes to explore.

It is simply a great time to be a beer lover in America. Never before in the nations history have we had more breweries in production than we do right now, and that number is only increasing. A person can board a flight and travel from one end of the country to the other, east to west, north to south, come out of the airport and be in the general vicinity of a local brewery. Its exciting to to explore the beers of a new city and immerse yourself into the culture of that town or city and learn what beer means to them. It is also exciting to know that, if for one reason or another, the beers of that city or town do not sit on your palette just right, the odds of finding a Stone IPA (or your own local favorite) are dramatically high as well, so you can support your hometown brewery and maybe turn on a few people who have not yet had the chance to see what your town is all about.

San Diego is a city that is still developing its beer culture. Yes, there are handful of breweries in town that have been brewing great beer for over 20 years, but it wasn’t until 2007-2008 that craft beer/independent beer began to skyrocket in its popularity, not only here but across the country. However, we are on the right track. Not only are we the proud home of some of the best breweries in the country, we are also home to some of the best beer bars in the country. Couple that with the continued growth of the farm to table food revolution and more top notch independent restaurants that serve local, independent brewery tap handles, San Diego is a destination not only for locals but for beer lovers across the globe. If the rate of growth in the independent beer market continues to expand, it will mean a much deeper permeation of beer into the fabric of what makes San Diego so great. The saturation point still seems to be far off, when too many breweries exist, but as long as the beer stays high in quality, it is only a matter of time before the sign reads “Welcome to San Diego, America’s Finest City, and Independent Beer Capital of the World.”

Won’t that be a great thing?



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San Diego Beer Week is upon us!

The popular saying around San Diego is that in reality, every week is beer week. Sure, living in the craft beer mecca that San Diego has become can seem that way with the sheer number of breweries and a seemingly endless barrage of events happening throughout the year, but the fact remains that this week is special and should be held above all other events in town. This is the March Madness of the craft beer world.

The list of events is staggering, from tap takeovers to special barrel releases and insanely fun and delicious food & beer pairing dinners, it is impossible not to find an event of six to satisfy your beer drinking desires. Head over to the SD Beer Week website for the full calendar of events and have a truly great time. 

This past weekend, myself and my broadcast partner/ good friend Cody of ThreeBZine fame, were lucky enough to have the privilege to record our latest podcast episode live from the SD Brewer’s Guild Beer Festival, the annual kick-off event for Beer week. The conversations we had with some of San Diego’s elite brewing talents are both entertaining and insightful. If you’d like to hear what was said, please follow the link to ThreeBZine where you can listen or download from iTunes or your other favorite podcasting app. Thanks for listening and have a happy SD Beer Week!!IMG_2473 copy





Lagunitas goes Dutch while Saint Archer sells to MillerCoors.

Times are certainly changing in the world of Craft Beer.

It has been a week full of major news as two breweries have made headlines, one with a dramatic merger and another with an out-right sale.

Unless you have been living inside of green glass bottle, you probably heard the news that broke first thing this past Tuesday morning, Lagunitas, 3rd largest craft beer brewer in the U.S., has sold a 50% share to global Dutch brewing mega-conglomerate Heineken. The second news story, officially confirmed yesterday, but whispered around San Diego for several months, was the majority sale of Saint Archer Brewing to corporate beer poster boys MillerCoors.

In both cases it is fair to say that these craft beer breweries sold out. It is also fair to say that these two breweries can no longer be considered ‘craft beer breweries’.

Whether or not this news dissuades a person from drinking the beers of Lagunitas or Saint Archer is an entirely subjective matter. Hard-core craft beer geeks will move on while the masses, who for the most part do not care who owns a brewery, will simply drink on in a state of blissful ignorance.

Personally, I’m happy for Lagunitas and Saint Archer. Or more to the point, I’m happy for the employees. Undoubtably this can only be good news for the employees of each business because hopefully they will see some of the millions now being pumped into their breweries. Make no mistake, these are two businesses that employ a lot of wonderful and talented people, the contributions they have made to craft beer cannot and should not be forgotten or overlooked. If they choose to stay onboard when the new ownership takes over, or in the case of Lagunitas; joins the board, then I wish them nothing but the best. If any of them decide to leave and seek opportunity at another craft brewer or perhaps even start their own brewery, that will be even better news and I sincerely hope to try those beers very soon, craft beer will welcome you back with open arms. 

In the case of Lagunitas, they made the decision to partner with Heineken in order to become a global brand and put their beers in the hands of more people around the world. As a business, you cannot fault them for that. Tony Magee, founder of Lagunitas, was looking for a way to grow his business on a global scale. This was the way he thought was best to do it. 

With Saint Archer, sources have told me multiple times that this was the plan from day one. It was part of the business model that helped lure the financial backing of big time X-Game athletes and others, the promise of owning a brewery for a big pay day down the road. Mission Accomplished. Like many others in San Diego, I have often questioned the intentions of Saint Archer, but now they are all rich and I’m not.

In both cases, it was stressed that nothing would change about the beers and that the people in charge of things were staying in charge. It was a lot of information to try and reassure craft beer drinkers that the product would not change, even if the people collecting all the money did.

Where things get interesting is with the potential ramifications of each move. For Saint Archer it will be a challenge for them to try and still call themselves craft beer in a market like San Diego. The knowledgeable craft beer geeks will stop drinking it and they certainly will not go to the tasting room. How the average beer drinker reacts will be far more interesting, will they even care that MillerCoors owns them? It will also be interesting to see how MillerCoors handles what can only be an impending nationwide rollout of Saint Archer beers. Will you one day walk into a bar in Philadelphia and find Saint Archer White nestled between handles of Blue Moon and ShockTop? 

This move is also alarming to other San Diego craft brewers because now they have MillerCoors in their backyard, something that almost everyone had hoped to avoid. Will MillerCoors attempt to interfere with the micro and nano breweries in San Diego with proposing wild new legislation like they have in Florida? Only time will tell.

For Lagunitas, they have a far more precarious situation in front of them. Tony Magee has been very outspoken when it comes to craft brewers selling out to ABInBev and MillerCoors in the past. After announcing the sale, or partnership, with Heineken, Tony found himself in the position of having to defend his actions with very long blog post where he attempts to show how this deal is actually a good thing for the American Craft Beer industry. What this says to me is that Tony still wants to sit at the table with the cool kids despite the fact that the he now belongs in the lounge with all the lame grown-ups.

Don’t get me wrong, if the day comes when I can find a bottle of Lagunitas IPA in bar down the back ally of a random third world country and it tastes just as good as the one made in Petaluma, that is a good thing. But do not act like you didn’t sell out to make that happen, just own it and everything will be cool. 

Ultimately, I hope this works out for the people involved at Lagunitas and Heineken. I also hope that MillerCoors doesn’t have a negative effect here in San Diego, because that has to be a top priority now for the brewers of this region, to protect the quality and integrity of what San Diego beer has become known for around the world. Make sure that Saint Archer is an isolated case, and we can mitigate them to a small part of the brewing culture here in this county. 

Also, if anyone wants to start a petition for Saint Archer to relocate to Milwaukee, I would be ok with that. Or at the very least they can relocate to Carson with the Chargers.