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San Diego Beer Week Caps Year Of Shakeups For Local Breweries

San Diego Beer Week Caps Year Of Shakeups For Local Breweries
San Diego Beer Week Caps Year Of Shakeups For Local Breweries GUEST: Jill Davidson, president, San Diego Brewers Guild

Craft beer is big business in San Diego. It has gone to big changes. It is the year when established national brewers called the year and faded San Diego. Constellation brands which owns Corona bought local brewer ballast point for $1 billion. Miller Coors Porte Saint Archer brewing and on Heiser Bush announced it is opening an East Village brew pub this year. All this should make for interesting conversation during San Diego beer week.KPBS Midday Edition producer spoke with San Diego Brewers Guild president, Jill Davidson who is the sales manager for pizza port. The sandhill craft beer industry is still expanding. Why are we continuing to grow so quickly? San Diego has been such an innovative and collaborative beer community. Our breweries are turning 30. When you have that kind of support and access of great ingredients and were lucky enough to have white labs which was one of the first and has become one of the most recognized manufacturers that has helped San Diego to develop itself as a dominant force. As the community grows and as interest involves that people have an entrepreneurial spirit creating for themselves and elevate San Diego to be its own brand. In part because we got started so much earlier in the craft beer industry than so many other places in the country, we have issued stockpile of craft brewers. 130 in the region. Where one of the couple cities in the country pushing the limit of how many breweries a city can reasonably hold. Are we kidding that ceiling soon? It's on the radar but we're not concerned for the immediate future. Any time anything scales the way our industry has, quality is a huge concern. San Diego itself is a brand. With all of the new breweries opening, they have the resources to make great beer and brewers to reach out for a technique and actual ingredient recipe development, processes, marketing, sales, business development resources. As long as they are checking all the boxes, there will be growth. A lot of changes are in the market has more bars are opening and increasing lines, you are talking about more people in the market fighting for -- I hate to say fighting because we're such a collaborative industry -- certain amount of shelf space or tap handles. If everybody decides to grow to be a giant brewery, it become slightly concerning. On the local level where you are the center of Europe community and selling it over your bar doing all of the great things a local brewery does, you will be fine. There were a lot of shakeups this past year. Is is a pivotal year? Those acquisitions happened at the end of 2015. This has been the year to digest what is going on. Moving forward it will happen more with big year -- beer coming in a puts more pressure. Stone laid off 5% of its workforce. The new CEO says growth was slowing greater pressures from being beer buying off smaller craft breweries and the spread of hyper local breweries. Should we expect more dealt tightening? It was shocking and heartbreaking for our community. We saw a lot of people that we've grown up within the beer community not be there anymore. Reality hit that it is a business and we are collaborative and supportive but there will be changes that have to occur in order for a business to stay sustainable. I think it's on everybody's radar to learn from the example that this is what happens if you grow too quickly. Beer week is kicking off tomorrow. What is new? It is beer week eight. Guild Fest is a two week events. 70 breweries participate. A lot of them are first-time participants. We are very excited. It is an amazing moment to be part of this. To see these new breweries experience that -- Friday is more intimate than Saturday. There is physically brewers on-site pouring their blood sweat and tears out of the top line. It will be really exciting. That was Jill Davidson speaking with producer Michael Lipkin. The eighth annual San Diego beer week starts tomorrow and is celebrated all around San Diego through November 13.

Craft beer is big business in San Diego and this year it's gone through some big changes.

Constellation Brands, which makes Corona and Modelo beers, bought local company Ballast Point Brewing and Spirits last November for $1 billion. Greg Koch, co-founder of San Diego beer giant Stone Brewing, stepped down as CEO in August and last month the company announced it was laying off about 5 percent of its workforce.


But smaller breweries are still opening at a rapid clip: 20 opened in the past year with another 25 on track to open next year, according to Jill Davidson, president of the San Diego Brewers Guild. There are 130 craft breweries in San Diego County, she said. Seventy of them will be on hand this weekend at Guild Fest, the kickoff event for San Diego Beer Week.

"If you’re opening in a neighborhood and just want a small batch for your bar, there is a lot of potential," said Davidson, who is also western regional sales manager for Pizza Port Brewing Company. "But as you build your production capacity or distribution, that’s where it’s starting to get a little crowded."

San Diego Beer Week

Nov. 4-13

Guild Fest, the week's marquee event, runs Nov. 4-5 at the Port Pavilion on Broadway Pier

Typically, craft beers faced off against "Big Beer" on parallel tracks, according to Davidson. Did drinkers want a Budweiser or a local IPA? But with Constellation, Anheuser-Busch and other international companies adding smaller breweries to their portfolios, it's more of a head-to-head competition.

"It’s becoming an increasingly difficult marketplace," she said.

Davidson joins KPBS Midday Edition Thursday with more on Beer Week events and how this year could be a turning point for the San Diego beer industry.