If you haven’t read my article, The State of San Diego Craft – 2015, you should. This will be a series of posts where I share the complete and full statements from 20+ amazing individuals that contributed to my work. I’m going to start with those that I used in the article and then release the rest in alphabetical order. In today’s post I bring you the words of two more knowledgeable people, Peter Rowe from the Union Tribune and Beau Scmitt from The Brew Project.
In the 19th century, wagon trains headed west traveled together to Wyoming. Then parties diverged, some taking the Oregon Trail, others heading south on the California Trail.
San Diego beer’s wagon trains have reached the parting of the ways.
When I started writing about local beer 20 years ago, people working in different breweries displayed a striking spirit of camaraderie. They were all in this venture together, little craft operations against the macrobrewers.
That spirit still survives, but it’s fragmenting. People are choosing sides, some aligning with St. Archer, Ballast Point and (I haven’t seen this yet, but it will happen) 10 Barrel. On this trail, the wagon masters argue that good beer is good beer, even if it’s made by a brewery co-opted by a hated corporation.
Another wagon train is following the Purists’ Trail, noting that the corporations are engaged in a life and death struggle that will only end when all truly independent breweries are ground into the dust.
We’ll see more consolidation and acquisitions. Beer, even craft beer, is a commodity – it is bought and sold and, thus, is subject to market. I’m enough of an optimist to believe the market will always support great beer and that San Diegans will continue to make world-class ales and lagers.
Greg Koch said that once people try the real thing – coffee, bread, beer – they can’t go back to Folger’s, Wonder Bread and Budweiser. I think he’s right, and the realest of the real is almost always produced by skilled, independent, local artisans.
Peter Rowe, Union Tribune
Thank you Peter and Beau, I’m very thankful you took the time to give me your thoughts on the current atmosphere of San Diego craft beer!