Coronado brewmaster launches Mexican-themed brewery



Brewing’s head brewer, Ryan Brooks, works within a few miles of the U.S.-Mexican border.

He’s about to get even closer.

On Tuesday, Brooks will officially become co-founder and brewmaster of SouthNorte, a new brewery that aims to make American craft beer with Mexican flair.

“The more time I spent in Mexico with my family the more inspired by and attached to the Mexican culture I became,” said Brooks, who is married to a Tijuana native. “With SouthNorte, I want share my love of that culture and transport the U.S. craft beer drinker by letting them experience the vibrant and unique flavors of Mexico wherever they are.”

Coronado Brewing is the new venture’s primary investor, but SouthNorte is an independent business. Its beers will be brewed at Coronado’s Bay Park facility until SouthNorte finds its a permanent home.

SouthNorte hopes to capitalize on two trends - craft beer is hot, accounting for 22 percent of U.S. beer sales by revenue, while sales of Mexican imported beer grew nearly 11 percent last year.

“SouthNorte combines these two trends,” noted a company release, “to give consumers exactly what they want.”

That’s no easy task, noted Gonzalo Quintero, who teaches beer marketing at San Diego State University.

“They are trying to capture a number of markets simultaneously,” he said, “checking all the boxes at once.”

As a category, “Mexican beer” is almost meaningless, Quintero argued, as it ranges from IPAs to chocolate stouts. Yet he’s intrigued by SouthNorte.

“I always talk about craft beer in our region, and that region is Southern California and northern Baja California,” he said. “It makes sense that an organization would want to capture that sense of community, that sense of space.”

SouthNorte is scheduled to open this summer.