Local Dems On Impeachment, Pot Tourism Means More ER Visits, How Schools Fight Hunger Over The Holidays And Meet Ballast Point’s New Owner
KPBS Midday Edition / December 19, 2019
Local Congressional Democrats weigh in on the impeachment vote. Plus, with legal marijuana means more pot tourism in San Diego and more emergency room visits. Also, many school children face hunger over the holidays because the free school lunch program is their most reliable source of food, how schools are fighting that. And, a San Diego-based company is leading the charge for more diversity and inclusion in the workplace via an app. Finally, Ballast Point has new owners, again. Hear what the new owners have in store for the San Diego-based brewing company.
Speaker 1: 00:00 For only the third time in the history of the United States, the house of representatives has voted to impeach a president by a vote of two 30 to one 97. The house yesterday voted to impeach president Donald Trump on two articles, abusive power and obstruction of Congress over his conduct towards Ukraine. All of San Diego's four Democrats voted in favor of impeachment, Republican Duncan Hunter refrained from voting to comply with house rules after pleading guilty to campaign finance crimes. Congresswoman Susan Davis spoke in supportive and peach meant on the house floor yesterday and she joins us now. Congresswoman Davis. Welcome.
Speaker 2: 00:37 Thank you. I see you with you.
Speaker 1: 00:38 Was this a difficult vote for you?
Speaker 2: 00:41 Actually, it wasn't such a difficult vote yesterday. Uh, and I think that's because we had been, uh, really over a period of time, uh, seeing more and more allegations, more testimony, uh, at the committee level and then certainly open for, um, the public. And I came to believe that the president was truly impeaching himself.
Speaker 1: 01:08 What do you mean by that?
Speaker 2: 01:09 Well, I think that it's his actions and his behavior, um, that have created the, the crisis. Uh, it, this didn't come from out of thin air of course. And everybody takes this very, very seriously. I think that we take our oath of office seriously. Um, you know, 19 years ago I raised my hand for the first time here in Congress and then every two years thereafter. And I take that tremendously seriously, a great responsibility and trust, um, that people have in me as their representative. Sometimes I'm, I'm surprised how much it means to them. I think that they have put that trust in me. And I listened, I read, uh, just about everything I could. And I was convinced over time that there was such a pattern here. And I think that the two articles actually fit it well because there's no question I think that people can't look at, at the subpoenas that were issued by the Congress and the desire to seek more information and more testimony that was totally blocked, um, by the president, by the administration, and certainly on abusive power. That was, was pretty clear. And he said multiple, multiple times. Um, even in response to what had occurred, relationship to Ukraine that this was, he saw no problem, um, with what he was doing. And I think it's because he does see himself above the law.
Speaker 1: 02:44 What was key, uh, for you voting for the two articles? Was there a specific piece of evidence?
Speaker 2: 02:49 I think in terms of the testimony and the facts that even his staff and administration, um, they, they were actually quite aware, um, that this was a problem and a number, which is partly why they used, uh, a different way of, um, putting it aside from other memos from other information that they had. And I, that just became compelling to me, uh, that in, in every interaction, uh, that they had with him or, or outside specific to the Ukraine issue, it was clear to me that there, there really was a problem here and they were trying to bring it out. And yet, uh, we all, we all witnessed what occurred there.
Speaker 1: 03:40 Do you believe the president committed a crime?
Speaker 2: 03:43 Absolutely. Uh, I think that the difficulty here is that we're dealing not with the kind of crimes that we think of every day. Um, but crimes against the country against, uh, the, the trust again that people have put in him
Speaker 1: 03:59 in response to yesterday's vote. San Diego County Republican party chaired Tony [inaudible] said in his statement, fair minded San Diego fans know that today's impeachment vote is a perverse overreach based on the flimsiest of reasons with an election less than a year away. Democrats blinded by hate, are afraid to actually debate the issues facing Americans. We deserve better. And quote, why not let the voters decide as Republicans have suggested?
Speaker 2: 04:25 Well, I think that his statement really belies what's been going on here in the Congress in terms of the issues that we've been dealing with. In fact, um, we were passing the, the U S MCA, the trade agreement with Mexico and Canada, uh, in just a few minutes here. And I think that that's significant and that is being done in a bipartisan fashion. So we are certainly not ignoring these other issues. But you know, we look at a number of historians that have weighed in, uh, over the course of the last few weeks. Uh, and it became very clear to me, uh, that you can, you can have a, you know, they talked about a grain of sand. I mean, you could have a, you know, a few grains of sand, but it starts to be, um, a mountain after a while. And I think that we were, we were at a point that we felt that this is something that, that had to be dealt with and, and dealt with in this way because it was, it was the one tool that we actually have, um, for the Congress and the fact that it was our, our job as oversight was being blocked continuously.
Speaker 2: 05:32 Uh, must suggest, I know, but suggest to my constituents, uh, that we have a problem with the president who was trying to not be transparent.
Speaker 1: 05:42 How speaker Nancy Pelosi hasn't said when she'll send the articles of impeachment to the Senate. What do you think is behind the move to delay sending them over to the Senate?
Speaker 2: 05:51 Well, I think that this is, I give it in sub time. I think it's important to know and understand, um, what leader McConnell has in mind, uh, in coordinating with the white house. I mean, that's an extraordinary statement if people can think about the fact that this is a trial. The Senate, uh, acts as jurors and for people who have sat on a jury, they must know that if you have any experience with an issue that is going to be dealt with in a courtroom, they often dismiss you. So I don't, I don't think we can move forward unless there some clear guidelines about how this is gonna be handled.
Speaker 1: 06:34 You're the senior member of San Diego's congressional delegation and will be retiring after this term. When you first took the oath of office, did you ever imagine you'd be voting to impeach a president?
Speaker 2: 06:45 No. I came in to Congress and in many ways I came in, you know, just before nine 11. Really. I mean, I came in in January, um, of, uh, 2001. And, and for me, that was, uh, something I never expected to do either. And yet in between all these years, I've had an opportunity to vote on many, many issues. Some of them really tough, probably not as tough as voting, you know, to, uh, not go into Iraq, uh, after nine 11, and, and this one as well, which is, which is a hard vote, but not as hard for me in the district and what my constituents are asking for that. It's some other districts
Speaker 1: 07:32 I've been speaking with, Congresswoman Susan Davis, Congresswoman Davis, thank you very much for joining us.
Speaker 2: 07:38 Thank you very much.
Speaker 1: 00:00 Joining us to talk more about this historic moment is Dan Eaton legal analyst and partner at seltzer Caplan McMahon Vita. Dan, welcome. Thank you very much. They could be with you. So now that the house has voted to impeach the president, what happens now? Well, it's interesting because the constitution says the house house has sole power of impeachment, but then the Senate has the sole power of trials. So really now it moves now to the Senate for a trial, however that's going to be constituted, uh, by the United States Senate. And we just heard San Diego, Congresswoman Susan Davis say a speaker Pelosi should consider holding onto the articles until there are some clear guidelines about how the trial will be handled in the Senate. What does the constitution say about this process? Is that clearly laid out? Your question is exactly the right one because it's not clearly laid out.
Speaker 1: 00:50 There is nothing in the constitution about this weird period of time between when the house votes a impeachment by a simple majority. And when the Senate takes up trial of those articles of impeachment, there has been some talk about whether the articles have to be formally submitted. And certainly if this religious lation of course the house has to transfer its work to the Senate for the Senate to be able to take it up. It's not entirely clear that the same process works in a impeachment. What we are talking about here are procedures of the two houses and it's not entirely clear, uh, that, uh, under the Senate's own procedural manual of that it is proper for it to take up, uh, the articles impeachment until they're, uh, they're turned over by the house. That said, it's not entirely clear that speaker Pelosi has the leverage that she appears to be exerting, uh, to, uh, bolster, uh, Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer's case, uh, that there be a, a fuller hearing on this in the form of the trial before the United States Senate.
Speaker 1: 01:51 Uh, what kind of leverage might she be able to gain? It's not a clear, entirely clear that she is going to gain any kind of leverage because at some point a Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky, might just say, we're going to proceed. Now the house had the sole power of impeachment. The Senate has the sole power of trial. We're going to call the chief justice to preside over the trial and we're going to proceed, uh, whether you take any further action house having had your say or not, you know, this is just the third time a us president has been impeached. How does Trump's impeachment compare to others? Well, it's very hard to say because of course in the law of business we deal with precedent all the time. But if this has an improvisational quality to it, it's because they are sort of making this up as they go along.
Speaker 1: 02:40 There is actually a Senate rule book, uh, as to, uh, when the Senate is sitting, uh, for impeachment. And, uh, in that, uh, rule book, it does prescribe the oath that is constitutional required that is to the constitution says that the senators sit under oath or affirmation. The Senate manual actually prescribes what that oath is and what it requires the Senate, each Senator to do is to quote, do impartial justice according to the constitution and laws. So help you God close quote. But beyond that, uh, the, uh, there is very little guidance as to how this matter goes forward, whether they are going to be witnesses, how they're present. Uh, Taishan will go, uh, when you talk about comparing it, we'll only know how to compare the two when we see what actually happens. Uh, now, uh, you can talk about the substance of the charges and how they differ, uh, between what Clinton was accused of and what president Trump is accused of.
Speaker 1: 03:37 But that ends up being more of a political conversation than a legal one. What do you make of how the impeachment proceeding has unfolded over the last several weeks? I mean, what are some of your big legal takeaways? Well, the big legal takeaways is that the house certainly is taken quite a bit of time and heard from a lot of, uh, witnesses in creating a record. But the, the biggest takeaway is that there doesn't seem to be this broad consensus, uh, as to, uh, the, uh, need for impeachment, uh, that would suggest any possibility at all of the Senate actually voting, uh, to, uh, convict and remove a president Trump from office understand that the house, uh, in, uh, creating the record and ultimately voting on an article of impeachment only had to have a simple majority. The Senate. There has to be a two thirds majority. And the reason for that is to establish that there is something approaching a broad national consensus before our president is removed from office.
Speaker 1: 04:35 The problem here, I guess when you look at the big picture is that, uh, the parties, uh, and I mean that in the political sense, the political parties are simply not operating from the same view of what seems to be an undisputed, uh, shared set of facts. And that's what's making this such a weird proceeding because it really is though we're dealing with alternative universes here as to the facts and as to whether those facts rise to the level of, uh, high crimes and misdemeanors sufficient to warrant the removal of the president of United States. You know, the Republicans contend that the article about abuse of power, it's vague and doesn't fall under the high crimes and misdemeanors provision. Do they have a point there? The problem is what does, uh, what does high crimes and misdemeanors mean? Uh, there really is no clear definition of that.
Speaker 1: 05:27 Now there is some discussion about it in the Federalist papers and how what we're really talking about is, uh, a public offense and, and in the debates, the constitutional debates and so forth. But, uh, the fact is that what a high crime and misdemeanor is for purposes of being sufficient to impeach and then remove the president is really subject to the ultimate considered judgment off the senators. And in the case of impeachment, the members of the house that ultimately vote on these questions. What else will you be looking out for? Is this all moves forward. I want to see whether the Senate actually, uh, seeks to, uh, shortcut this whole process by, uh, moving to dismiss of the articles each meant almost as soon as they, uh, almost as soon as the Senate receives it or whether they will have what they had in the Clinton case.
Speaker 1: 06:18 Whether you have presentations by the, uh, house managers who ultimately have the burden of proof as it were. Uh, and then the president's own lawyers and whether they are going to be any witnesses. The reason this is going to be so fascinating from a civic engagement standpoint is that we are dealing with uncharted territories and we are always going to be dealing with uncharted territory when we are dealing with impeachment because there have been so few of them. Historically, I have been speaking with legal analysts, Dan Eaton. Dan, thank you very much for joining us. Thank you, Jade. Good to be with you.
Speaker 1: 00:02 When California voters legalized recreational marijuana in 2016 some worried about the impact on teen use and emergency rooms and today's installment of our week long series, high hopes California's prod experiment KPBS reporter Claire tragus or examines how these concerns are panning out.
Speaker 2: 00:20 San Diego has long been a favorite spot for tourists who come for it, surfing beaches and parks. But for the past couple of years, tourists have also been coming for something else.
Speaker 1: 00:34 Legal marijuana and that has contributed to a bump in emergency room visits, says Dr. Richard Clark, an emergency physician and director of medical toxicology at UC San Diego
Speaker 3: 00:46 tourists or visitors to California will often come in and want to try it because they can get it here so much easier than they can in their own, uh, geographical location and they won't have the experience that many local users have with it and may accidentally use too much.
Speaker 1: 01:03 That's particularly true with edible marijuana like gummies or brownies that take longer to have an effect, which leads some people to eat too much. Of course, Clark says it's not just tourists who make this mistake. He sees plenty of locals too
Speaker 3: 01:19 nail develop what looks like a bit of an anxiety reaction and their heart rate will be high and they will say, I don't feel right. They may be dizzy and in a lot of distress,
Speaker 1: 01:31 state data shows since marijuana was legalized, emergency room visits for cannabis poisoning have gone up by 35% in San Diego County. At the same time, Clark and many other doctors don't see this as the health crisis. Many feared they aren't seeing a spike in serious pot related accidents or illnesses. Instead, it's mainly been a lot of people who simply need time for the drug to wear off.
Speaker 3: 01:59 There's not a lot of specific treatment that we need to do for them and a lot of times if we just watch them in a a nice, calm environment, they're better in an hour or two.
Speaker 1: 02:12 However, while the risk of long lasting effects from a pot overdose might be overstated, the risk of becoming addicted is understated. Says dr Kai MacDonald, the medical director at lasting recovery, a San Diego addiction treatment center. When you take people who use cannabis daily and lock them in a hotel and ask them how they feel they have withdrawal symptoms. The risks are most pronounced among teens. He says not only is cannabis addiction a real condition, but research shows that in States where marijuana is legal, addiction Rose 25% among 12 to 17 year olds and studies have repeatedly shown marijuana has a negative impact on the development of teenagers. Addiction goes up in a very vulnerable subgroup. That's the best data we have that cannabis legalization means that there's more out there. Data from San Diego County show that the percentage of youth treated for marijuana addiction increased by about 5% among adults who see County funded treatment, marijuana is low on the list of the most popular drug of choice behind alcohol, heroin, and meth. The adult use numbers show why the public health focus should be on the harder drugs. Says Dalen young, the political director for the association of cannabis professionals.
Speaker 3: 03:37 In any of those increased ER visits, there have been zero fatalities.
Speaker 1: 03:42 He says the law should allow for places where people can go to safely ingest marijuana so they don't take too much and that matches advice from Richard Clark, the ER doctor.
Speaker 3: 03:54 If you're going to try and edible, I think you need to start at a lower dose till you know what your reaction is going to be or to, you know, how it makes you feel
Speaker 1: 04:02 and then wait before trying more. But as long as San Diego continues to be a top tourist destination, Dr. Clark expects some people could spend part of their vacation in the ER and not just because they wiped out on a surfboard. Claire and Sarah KPBS news to see all of the stories in our series, go to K pbs.org/pot KPBS reporter Taren Minto contributed to this report.
Speaker 1: 00:00 There's an app for everything these days. One, to improve your health. There's an app. One is sleep better. There's an app, one to increase diversity and inclusion at work. Now there's an app for that too. There's been a major focus on diversity and inclusion in the workplace and many companies are starting to use technology to reach their goals. One local tech developer called lead inclusively launched an app called the inclusion virtual coach. The app uses neuroscience and artificial intelligence to create behavioral change and encourage best practices in the workplace. It was developed by San Diego consulting firm lead inclusively and its CEO, Denise Hummel joins us now. Denise, welcome. Thanks so much for having me, Jane. So you've spent decades doing diversity and inclusion consulting. What problems are you seeing within companies that led you to create this app? You know, at the end of the day, all companies want to be successful and they know that to do that, they have to do that with an inclusive workforce because if people don't feel that they belong, they're not bringing their best self to work.
Speaker 1: 01:03 And when that happens, you're not getting the excellence of innovation, the accelerated rate of innovation. You're not getting investment in the workplace. You just getting people who show up to collect a paycheck. And tell me more about the app. What is the science behind it and how does it use technologies like neuroscience and artificial intelligence to change behavior? Great question. We actually had to do quite a bit of research on neuroscience and on behavior change because we wanted an app that was not going to just be another way to deliver learning or content, but actually had a shot at changing behavior. So for anyone who's out there who is tried to go on a diet or tried to get more exercise or change something else in their life, they know that behavior change is just plain hard, right? And so, um, by doing the research on behavior change, by learning that as, as adults in particular, we have to understand the context for why we're learning.
Speaker 1: 01:59 In order to buy into it, we have to have an opportunity to practice that behavior and we have to have the opportunity to reflect on it. By using those three concepts of a behavior change all based on neuroscience, we were able to translate late that to technology so that leaders could practice these inclusive behaviors in real time around real events like meetings or performance evaluations, the things that they do on a daily basis that impact inclusion. So can you give me a couple of examples of these sort of real time nudges that people are given? Absolutely. Um, so I'll take meetings because they're the easiest, right? Leaders are stuck in meetings all day long. They do team meetings, they do one on ones and the app, if they choose the meeting section of the app, the app will immediately ask them when is your next meeting? And at that point the leader will put in the date and time and set it and forget it because a half an hour before that meeting, he or she is going to get a nudge on to run an inclusive meeting is it gets to know the user.
Speaker 1: 03:03 And so it's going to give the user more in depth information. Like this time it might say, how about if you focus on the quieter voices? Uh, bring out here's how to bring out the quieter voices in the room. Quieter voices are often women and people of color who have felt historically disenfranchised. So focusing on the people who are not contributing helps to give them a voice. So give me some examples of how this app might tell a manager or a leader in a workplace to be more inclusive. One example that you gave was to reach out to the quieter people in the room. Sometimes there are people who are not quiet, who are always contributing, but overlooked. Right? All right, well let's take another example from another focus area of the app. Um, performance evaluations. If I'm a leader and I'm about to conduct a performance evaluation, wouldn't it be nice a half hour before that actual performance evaluation?
Speaker 1: 03:59 If I get a nudge on checking my bias at the door of taking a good minute or so to think about the things that turned me off about people who are not similar to me and making sure that I don't allow that to get in the way of making a good decision about someone's performance evaluation. Same example for hiring. What kind of results have you seen so far from companies that have adopted this technology? We finally got to the point where we have the case studies to show that what we're doing is increasing the number of diverse people in the work for us at every level. We're not just talking about entry now we're talking about middle management and senior leaders. We have the proof that, um, we're able to actually advance, uh, those same people through the talent pipeline, through the sticky middle of middle management, up to senior leadership and keep them there, which is critical.
Speaker 1: 04:55 So the app was really solving for the next phase of this, which is the, we know the methodology is good, the learning is good. Now we need to, to make it stick. We needed to be sustainable because you and I, we can learn something. Maybe we can even learn, I don't know, calculus. Um, but after a period of time of not doing calculus, we're going to forget how it's done and how to do those equations. And it's like anything else. If we can create learning that's sustainable, there is no way that we can help leaders to do what they should be doing and, and what many of them really want to do. Frankly. I mean, either diversity and inclusion is a core value of a company and it's practiced every day or it's not. Right. Well, it's interesting that you would say that. Yes. I think a lot of organizations want that.
Speaker 1: 05:45 I think a lot of them do see some value in that, but that doesn't mean that every individual feels that way. Uh, first of all, and second of all, those who do, so those managers and leaders who really do feel strongly about it doesn't mean that they actually know what inclusive behaviors look like. So for example, one of one of the things that we were able to improve over time, I don't know if you remember Jade way, way back when people were talking about unconscious bias, right? And we thought, I don't know if you thought this, but I certainly thought that if we could have learning methodology that would elevate awareness, that that was going to solve all the problems. But in effect it didn't because we increased awareness. But what we didn't do was help managers and leaders to understand how to move to inclusive behaviors. What are inclusive behaviors and how do they manifest themselves in the workplace? And where is the opportunity to, you know, to actually embed them on a team. That's what we need to do. So it's not just about having great values, it's about helping and supporting and reinforcing your leaders to practice those values. I've been speaking with Denise homo, CEO of lead inclusively. Denise, thank you so much. Thank you.
Speaker 2: 07:04 [inaudible].
Speaker 1: 00:01 Earlier this month it was announced that ballast point brewing company had been sold again this time to Kings and convicts. It's a small brewery from Illinois, constellation brands. The owner of Modelo is U S beer company, sold ballast point to Kings and convicts for an undisclosed amount. Now ballast point's new owner will be moving its headquarters to San Diego. Joining me to discuss plans for the brewery is CEO of Kings and convicts Brendan waters. Brendan, welcome to San Diego. Thank you very much. Good to be here. You know, before this sale, most San Diego beer aficionados hadn't heard of Kings and convicts. What would you like them to know about the company and your beers? Well, I think no one's heard of it. So even in Chicago land, no one had heard of us. So it's not that I'm, I wouldn't be worried about that, that you hadn't heard of us.
Speaker 1: 00:46 No one has. But I think that, uh, what I'd like people to know is, you know, we're a small craft brewery and we, we brew B because we love brewing B and we're, we're a couple of homebrewers that, uh, that started only a couple of years ago. And in, in doing so we started to engage with the, the craft beer community and try to understand how to grow. And that's one of the reasons we found ballast point. Yeah. We went and spoke to them and they helped us with some of our, the, our direction on the new, some of the new B that we were doing in some of our new build out. And so really we're a small brewery that brews pilsners and Isles Mike. My partner's English, he's the King. I'm Australian, I'm the convict. And so a lot of our bees are actually based on, you know, be that we've traveling around the world.
Speaker 1: 01:30 The places that we've come from, they're based on that. And you and your partner have been called craft beer rookies. Would you agree with that? Absolutely. Yes. I mean, there's no hiding it. I mean, I brewed when I was back in college, 20, 20 odd years ago. And you know, we started up, uh, two years ago brewing home home, you know, home brewing again in, in a place, you know, in Highwood, Illinois. And Chris went back, he's a biochemist. He went back and went to Bruce school. So we are rookies. We haven't got that long history of brewing, but you know, part of home brewing is trial and error. And that's what makes craft be so interesting. But it's also one of the things that we love about ballast point. They've got a wonderful history, they've got great capability, wonderful quality and great quality controls.
Speaker 1: 02:14 The, the, the people that are in the company a fantastic. So we're going to re we're going to lean on them. So part of this is, you know, we might be rookies, uh, in craft brewing, but ballast point isn't, and that's why we love them. And you mentioned that your, your business partner was biochemist. Yeah. Um, you know, you, both of you have had a good deal of success in other professions. Tell me a bit about your, you and your partners backgrounds? I'm curious. So, so Chris is more of a technology guy, big production and, and has, you know, um, studied as a biochemist. He has worked for a lot of major companies around the world. And so from a, from a manufacturing and process driven background that he has come from, that will work very well within, within ballast point myself. I've had, I've pretty much worked for myself the last 20 years.
Speaker 1: 03:00 Yeah. I've had to, you know, I get to eat what I kill and so, and so I've got an entrepreneurial bent. Uh, and I've been in the hotel industry, I've been in, uh, technology and I've been in consulting as well. And so I think coming to this, we bring a lot of different sort of skill sets to the craft beer world. And we know that we don't know everything. And so I think that we, coming into balance point, working with ballast point, we're going to learn a lot of them. But then I think that they're also going to learn a lot of us. And part of it is that we don't have all the answers and we'll work together in a collaborative effort with the people of ballast point. And so to give them a little bit of freedom again, give them a little bit of impetus to uh, innovate and uh, sort of let the shackles off and, and, and be, be that independent craft brewer again.
Speaker 1: 03:49 And do you plan on keeping all the ballast point employees? Absolutely. And we're hiring more. Yeah. Now this sale will allow ballast 0.2 again, we consider it a craft brewery. What do you think the benefits of that are? I think two fold. Number one, there is a perception that, you know, ballast point when it went to the big, big Bay brand of constellation, um, wasn't true to its roots that the BIA changed and, and we know better, but there is a perception there that uh, that occurred. I also think from our point, allowing ballast point to, to do collaborative efforts with other breweries to try new things that may not work on a national scale, but for our, from our standpoint, letting, letting them brew different beers. Again, letting, letting ballast do things that are a little bit wacky and out there in left field.
Speaker 1: 04:37 And so that's a, that's a, a real tangible difference that we'll see and why independence in craft is important and Kings and convicts is much smaller than ballast point. What do you see as the other benefits to the brand being owned by a small company? So we are tiny people. People call us a microbrewery. I think the better term is nanobrewery coming into ballast point. The things that we will bring is that focus back on creativity that focus back on community and letting, letting the, the ballast point employees, all of them engage with the direction of, of ballast point. And so being a small company like we are with nine employees, uh, compared to the 560 employees of ballast point, I actually think we, we offer that true independence coming back, allowing ballast point to do what they used to do so well. They grew from Homebrew roots and they loved, they loved being that independent brewer.
Speaker 1: 05:40 And so I think that's what a small company like us can come and deliver the ballast point and sort of unshackle them again. And speaking of employees, you mentioned hiring more, how many more do you think you'll, you'll hire? The first year we are looking to hire anywhere up to 70 employees and we have, you know, we've got to recreate a marketing team. We've got to recreate our sales team. There's a, there's additional people on the floor that we need to get brewers. Uh, we need quality people. So there's a lot of different areas that we're going to have to, to bulk up again and, and recruit. And so we've got that already underway. So over the, over the course of the next couple of months until we close the deal, we're already out there looking for looking for employees. You know, at one time ballast point sales were up to 431,000 barrels a year.
Speaker 1: 06:25 This year they're expected to be around 200,000 barrels. What's the sweet spot for you? Do you want to see that grow or stay about the same? I think for us this has got to be about stable organic growth. Meaning let's just settle everything down. Let's focus on brewing good beer, let's focus on brewing good beer in markets that we should focus on. So we are not owned by a private equity firm, we don't have a big hockey stick in terms of sales that are acquired. We would rather grow profitably in the markets that make sense for ballast point. You mentioned the markets, what are those markets you want to focus on? So the biggest, the biggest one is California. Uh, it, it remains one of ballast points, most important markets. Um, and I'm going to go further here and say San Diego County. Yeah, this is ballast points home and in some respects I think balance point may have lost, you know, being part of constellation may have focus too far and wide.
Speaker 1: 07:24 And I think the only way to do that is let's go and look after our home market. And so California is very, very important for us. International markets, oddly enough, are going to be very important for us too because Kings and convicts will work in Australia. And New Zealand. And so we're gonna rely upon the, the help of, uh, of our friends at ballast point to help us brew some of our bees as small as we are, but for international markets. And then a lot of the solid markets that ballast point used to be in, in the Western areas of, of the U S but then in Kings and convicts, home market, you know, Illinois and Wisconsin, uh, are a really good craft beer market and ballast point is known over there. Ballast point's known over there better, better than Kings and convicts. And so we just need to engage with those big markets, the Northeast, some of the Southeast.
Speaker 1: 08:13 There are some that we really do have a great foothold in with ballast point that we just need to focus on. What do you foresee as some of the challenges King's and convicts and ballast point we'll go through? I think, uh, I think a lot of the challenges, um, that any normal company would coming out of a much larger entity, uh, number one is settling down all the employees and making sure that they feel that they're, they're part of this. Again, that's only going to happen with the actions that we take and that we do what we say we're going to do. I think also perception we have to reintroduce ballast point into the market. Um, in terms of, uh, in terms of being an independent craft brewer. So we're going to get that message out. How we get that message out is probably like don't things like I'm doing right now.
Speaker 1: 09:00 And, and also, you know, going on these pub crawls, going and talking to people. We're not going to do some big fleshy ad campaign. Kraft has to be done at the community level and it has to be done at the, at the, at the B level level. And so it's, that's a lot of hard work. So this is not a quick, quick thing. It's not a quick fix. People just have to see us in the community and see that we are, we are truly independent and craft again and, and, and back to what ballast point was, I have been speaking to Kings and convicts, CEO Brendan waters. Brendan, thank you very much. Yeah, thanks very much.