San Diego beer influencer Megan Stone named ‘Woman/Person of the Year’
Megan Stone isn’t your average beer drinker. The 29-year-old — who hails from Baltimore but now lives in North Park —not only drinks beer, she eats, sleeps and breathes beer. More specifically, she eats, sleeps and breathes craft beer in San Diego, considered one of the top craft beer cities in the world.
Stone’s day job is as media coordinator for Societe Brewing Company, but she might be better known on Instagram as @isbeeracarb where she regularly spreads her love of craft beer to her 34k followers.
Stone describes herself as a DEI advocate, which stands for diversity, equity and inclusion. It’s a cause that she’s as passionate about as her love of craft beer. The craft beer industry hasn’t always been known for welcoming diversity, but Stone believes that things are changing and that change will have a positive effect on the product.
“Not only does everyone belong and deserve to be treated with equal respect in the craft beer industry, but it also makes for better beer that is born from a diverse group of perspectives and ideas. Different backgrounds and experiences allows for an environment that is constantly evolving. It’s important there is representation for everyone, and that beer doesn’t only cater to one specific type of person,” Stone said via email.
Stone’s efforts in the craft beer world were recently acknowledged when she was named the Craft Beer Marketing Awards’ first ever Woman/Person of the Year. The honor means a lot to Stone, as it is proof that she’s created a colorful splash in the craft beer world.
“It’s truly an honor. I am fiercely passionate about DEI and all things beer and brewing, so it feels pretty incredible to be recognized and appreciated by peers of mine that I respect highly. It’s also a responsibility to continue to put in the work,” she said.
Stone’s interest and passion for craft beer started far away from San Diego.
“My love for beer started in Baltimore, when I was a server at a craft beer-centric restaurant. It transformed into an obsession with both beer and brewing when I got my first seasonal serving job at a brewery in Delaware: Dogfish Head,” she said.
That passion for craft beer propelled her to Southern California — first, for a brewing stint at Refuge Brewery in Temecula, and then, after a move to San Diego, to places like Mikkeller, Modern Times and her current home, Societe Brewing Company. In between brewing in SoCal, Stone also consulted for DuClaw Brewing Co. in Baltimore and brewed all around the world. But her love of the San Diego beer scene has kept her here.
“I really love that San Diego as a city is so proud and supportive of the craft beer scene. If you go to a Padres game or the San Diego Zoo, you’ll find local beer everywhere. They even put on events and festivals celebrating local beer. I also love that there are so many great options for beer and brewery visits,” she said. “I’ve spent most of my time brewing in the San Diego beer scene, and immersing myself in the culture and attending all the local beer events. I’ve used a lot of my experiences at these San Diego breweries to help educate others about DEI, why it’s so important, and how we can do better,” Stone explained.
Some of Stone’s favorite local breweries include Societe, of course, Pizza Port, Pure Project, North Park Beer Co., Eppig Brewing, Fall Brewing Company and Burning Beard Brewing. And supporting local brewers is especially important now, in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. Stone advises consumers to remember to buy locally during these times.
“Buy small and buy local,” she said. “If you want your favorite breweries to stick around, consider purchasing from them over some of the larger and more financially secure businesses. Beer isn’t the only option either. Buy merch and gift cards. Tip well. If you aren’t in a position to support breweries financially, share them on your social media, encourage your friends to buy from your favorite small breweries. You don’t need to be an ‘influencer’ to have an impact.”
When asked about the future of beer in San Diego, Stone is hopeful and realistic.
“Beer-wise, I see West Coast IPAs making a bit of a comeback. Hazy IPAs have been heavily produced in recent years, but I think we’ll see that number even out with WC IPAs. I also think (and hope) session beers, non-alcoholic beer, and more traditional styles like classic lagers will be the next trend. As far as the scene overall – I believe some of the DEI ‘efforts’ breweries have started incorporating will fall off. But there will be ones that stick around and impact the community overall in a positive way. I’m looking forward to a lot of the egos and gatekeeping in the SD beer scene disappearing,” she said.
And although Stone says you don’t need to be an “influencer” to have an impact, it’s clear that she’s using her large platform for positive change in the craft beer world – and that’s something we can all raise a glass to.
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