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Beer Week Continues Through Sunday

San Diego Brewers Guild Draws Attention To Craft Beer

KPBS arts and culture reporter Beth Accomando looks at San Diego Ber Week

While the negative campaigning is heating up on the eve of the election you'll find nothing but friendly competition among the dozens of small breweries seeking approval from San Diego voters. San Diego Beer Week kicked off over the weekend and continues through November 11.

While the negative campaigning is heating up on the eve of the election you'll find nothing but friendly competition among the dozens of small breweries seeking approval from San Diego voters. San Diego Beer Week kicked off over the weekend and continues through November 11.

The San Diego Brewers Guild has a mission statement to promote and create awareness of locally brewed craft beer in San Diego. One of the things they do in pursuit of that goal is sponsor San Diego Beer Week. The 10-day countywide event informs people about regional brewing heritage and showcases San Diego's nearly 60 breweries says Guild president Shawn DeWitt.

"San Diego has become known as the craft beer capitol and the craft beer destination. I don't know how much the average person knows that there are 60 breweries with another 30 in planning so I think it's becoming known."

Brian Scott is vice president of the San Diego Brewers Guild. He says they're trying to show that there's more out there than big brands like Coors and Bud.

"We've worked really hard to educate the public as far as craft beer goes, almost any bar you go into in San Diego has at least one craft beer on tap at all times and that's just a function of education really."

Scott, who is also packaging supervisor and equipment maintenance manager for Karl Strauss Brewing Co., was at Friday's kick off event.

Photo caption:

Photo credit: Beth Accomando

Mission Brewery in San Diego.

"We're at a book signing down at Mission Brewery in San Diego, enjoying some great beers and company.... We've got events happening all week, from small, medium, and large. A lot of restaurants in the area are doing very good food and beer pairings, which is awesome if you've never experienced it... It's going to be the biggest beer week we've ever had, it's the 4th annual, we've got so many more breweries than we have ever had before and the scene and the community is very accepting of us and it's just great."

Laura Ulrich, a small batch brewer at Stone Brewing Co., was working the Breast Cancer Awareness booth Beer for Boobs at the Guild Fest on Saturday at the Broadway Pier.

"It's a way to focus on craft beer and the people behind the craft beer."

"San Diego is so renowned for its beers that I live 6 blocks away and I heard that something like 20 or 30 breweries were going to be represented in one place at one time so I had to be here," says Garin Carpenter, one of the thousands of beer enthusiasts from San Diego and around the country who came to sample some of the 100 plus beers.

"The actual mission statement is to promote and create the awareness of locally brewed craft beer in San Diego. That's actually our true mission statement for the San Diego Brewers Guild. And I think we're doing a darn good job," says DeWitt, who is also director of brewing operations at Coronado Brewing.

Scott adds, "The breweries that are members pay dues that's how we help fund the San Diego Brewers Guild events such as Guild Fest and some of these other events.... These guys are putting their hearts and souls into what they do everyday. And being part of the guild helps us promote that throughout the county, throughout the country, throughout the world. And I think the Guild has done a big service to the community by bringing all of these brewers together to help have a unified front of showing what San Diego can offer."

"So the craft beer business in San Diego has never been better, it's never been more healthy. I've been doing it for 15 years and I can say I'd never thought I'd see what I'm seeing with this many breweries and this many more coming," DeWitt states.

"It's been quite a boon," says it's been quite amazing to go into a bar and notice that all the tap handles are now Ballast Point, Stone, Societe, Coronado, and Green Flash, it's nice to see the change from the Miller and the Budweiser and the Coors an all those guys to more of the local craft scene.

"Technically," Scott says, "we're all in competition with each other but we all do it for the love of the beer.

But It's a good competition, says Ulrich, "It's not that we're going to try and take each other out it's not that kind of competition, it's more of a camaraderie to get good local craft beer in all the bars, we're gonna work together to get our beer into bars together, we're just going to help each other to get our product out there for everybody to taste. But we're not going to try and take each other down. We work really well together, we help each other out, we loan hops, grain, anything that's needed, we're always there to help each other out."

Ulrich is a member of the Pink Boots Society, which empowers women beer professionals to advance their careers through education, "More women are entering the scene but it's, I don't have the easiest of jobs and it's not the prettiest of jobs but more women are becoming interested in craft beer."

Another change for the industry is social media says Scott, "We can really cut out the middle man and really explain what we are doing s a brewery and get people on board and it's just been great for us... FaceBook and Twitter are a huge tool for us to keep the community up to date about what we are doing as far as the Guild, as far as the scene, as far as the community."

"It is nice to see that people are getting the word that there are other beers out there to enjoy and try, and there are a lot of good ones out there. It's a lot of work for us but I can say when we're here having a beer it's nice," says Scott.

You can follow the San Diego Brewers Guild activities this week on FaceBook and Twitter as San Diego Beer Week continues through November 11th with more than 350 events involving dozens of breweries, restaurants, and pubs.


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Beth Accomando
Arts & Culture Reporter

opening quote marksclosing quote marksI cover arts and culture, from Comic-Con to opera, from pop entertainment to fine art, from zombies to Shakespeare. I am interested in going behind the scenes to explore the creative process; seeing how pop culture reflects social issues; and providing a context for art and entertainment.

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