Get ready, beer folks! On Aug. 25, San Diego will host its first ever Craft Beer Job Fair through the San Diego Brewers Guild. Eager worker bees can talk with a number of breweries and industry professionals, and apply for jobs, including both entry-level and mid-level positions. I sat down with San Diego Brewers Guild president, the always kind and helpful Kevin Hopkins, to learn more about the organization.
Q: San Diego is booming right now for craft beer. How many breweries are there?
A: There are 114 licensed breweries in the county, some small and local, others with international distribution. It is truly an explosive, burgeoning industry.
Q: For all of the craft beer lovers, young brewers, and industry supporters, how does someone join the guild?
A: There are three tiers of membership. The first is exclusively for brewers, you must have a practicing brewing license in San Diego County. The second is an affiliate membership, for any business that works within the brewing industry. This could be a restaurant, bar, purveyor of brewing equipment, legal firms, hotels and so on. Finally, there is the enthusiast, open to anyone in the community who wants to have access to the latest events and information, to be on the tip of the spear, so to speak.
Q: What are the benefits to being a part of the brewers guild?
A: We work at every level, not just with marketing, but education, legalities and lobbying efforts in Sacramento. We work with and initiate programs and legislation that will assist our local community.
Q: How is the guild working with the tourism industry to promote economic growth for the county?
A: It's an ongoing process and relationship. The craft beer industry creates over 600 million dollars in economic impact, and is trending toward 1 billion. Unlike other industries, it's not based on a single location, facility, or campus, but spread throughout the county. We work with the tourism industry to represent the whole San Diego.
Q: How does this translate to the biggest craft beer event of the year, San Diego Beer Week in November?
A: Hospitality and tourist dollars are primarily spent downtown. As an example, we are working with several groups, including the San Diego Tourism Authority, to ensure all hoteliers have fully informative fliers and programs in their guest rooms, letting each tourist see the multitude of activities going on that week.
Q: In your years in the industry, what have been the most exciting changes?
A: Most notably, we are reaching the first generation of craft beer drinkers that may only know craft beer, being raised in the San Diego beer community the past 15-20 years, they are now able to enjoy them. It's a whole new consumer. Also we now have different tiers to our craft community. There are the veterans with international reach, like Stone, Karl Strauss, Ballast Point and Green Flash. We have the regional and nationally known Coronado, Mother Earth, Port/Lost Abbey, and Alesmith, and we have the smaller local and nanobrewery tier, like Intergalactic and Wavelength and Toolbox, which can vary from self to statewide distribution.
Q: What is most exciting about being a part of the brewers guild and the San Diego craft industry?
A: There are so many things, but mostly it's the ability to have friends worldwide, to run into people everywhere, and above anything, they are excited to talk about San Diego craft beer.
Q: What's coming up next for the brewers guild?
A: On Aug. 22, we host the Westfield UTC Craft Beer Festival, and on Labor Day weekend, the 2nd Annual Hop Heads & Dreads, a reggae and craft beer festival, sponsored by Harrah's resort and the guild.
For more information on these events, and supporting the San Diego Brewers Guild, go to sandiegobrewersguild.org
With 15 years in the restaurant and beverage industry and more than 700 reviews under her belt, Laurie Delk is a one-stop guide to all things craft beer, wine and spirits. You can follow Delk on Twitter @100beers30days or Instagram @sandiegobeer. Send ideas for featured drinks to email@example.com.