San Diego Brewers Discuss Labor, Wages, and Valuing Employees

I attended this awesome discussion put together by Omar when it happened during Start Up Week. I truly enjoy these type of industry discussion panels and with SD BeerTalk we hope to foster some of our own in the future. Information is powerful; hearing what motivates these amazing brewery owners only deepens my appreciation and admiration for the visionary efforts put forth. There were several accounts of the discussion when it happened, but now you get to see it for yourself!

Here is the official press release:

– The San Diego region is home to over 120 professional brewhouses – the most for any county in the nation. According to the Brewers Association, California craft brewers had a net economic impact of $6.9 Billion in 2014.  In San Diego, a 2016 National University Institute for Policy Research study revealed more than 4,500 jobs have been created by San Diego brewers. With many changes in the labor market, four San Diego brewers came together to offer insights into their thinking about labor, wages, and valuing employees in the context of independent craft breweries.

“I noticed that San Diego craft brewers weren’t just leading in beer innovation, but also in how they thought about valuing the workforce,” said Omar Passons, a local economic development professional and craft beer enthusiast who organized the panel. “This panel was first and foremost about sharing ways that craft breweries across the country can build profitable businesses while valuing their employees, respecting the dignity of their work and offering self-sustaining wages.”

Panelists included veteran brewer and scientist Jim Crute of Lightning Brewery, former investment banker turned brewer and owner Douglas Constantiner of Societe Brewing Company, one of San Diego’s newest breweries, Second Chance Beer Co. represented by its Chief Operating Officer Curtis Hawes, and former Stone Brewing Company employee and current Modern Times Beer CEO Jacob McKean. “I’m excited to share the philosophy behind our humane business model, which has given us the benefit of minimal turn-over, high productivity, and deep commitment from staff,”  said Jacob McKean of his reasons for participating in this panel.

The panel, co-sponsored by San Diego State University’s Business of Craft Beer Certificate program, has helped highlight the importance of the business side of the nation’s craft beer craze.  “We created the Business of Beer Certificate with local craft beer industry experts so that we could help elevate quality and education in the industry, and to support this important part of growth in the San Diego region,” said Giana Rodriguez, program director. “SDSU is proud to foster entrepreneurism and innovation through hands-on learning for craft beer enthusiasts, hospitality employees, and future brewery owners. San Diego’s craft breweries are leading the way as forward-thinking businesses, and our students reap the rewards of learning from the best in the business.” –



Tabula Rasa is the 4th Annual Sore Eye Cup Champion!

20160806_152358In a crowded, world renown, craft beer bar last Saturday the Sore Eye Cup champion was announced to zealous, sweaty, San Diego, indie beer fans. This year, Tabula Rasa, from Second Chance Beer Co. , is that victor! They reign for a full year as the Sore Eye Cup winner, and with that comes all the glory and prestige a local blog can bestow upon an amazing brewery. 2nd Chance’s motto is Seize. Sip. Enjoy. and boy did they ever seize the cup, sip from its mighty depths and enjoy the spoils of triumph with us on Saturday.

tabula RasaLook at the can on the left. Second Chance self distributes Tabula Rasa in pint cans so you can easily get your hands on some, something that you should certainly do very soon! I also suggest you visit their awesome tasting room/brewery in Carmel Mountain Ranch. Plenty of space to enjoy their offerings, play an intense game of darts, or lounge around. I’ve enjoyed both of my visits their and think you would dig hanging out there too!

SoreEyeCupSecondChanceTo review, more than seventy people nominated 82 beers for the contest. We had 14,111 legitimate votes to get us to the top ten beers. Both of those statistics exceeded previous contest records. The beers were picked up the day before judging, during something I call the Sore Eye Tour. The top ten beers were judged by people ranging from craft beer fanatic to Advanced Cicerone. Those judges chose Tabula Rasa as San Diego’s best, regularly produced, indie beer for 2016!

Thank you to our host, Toronado, and our sponsor,, I couldn’t have done it without you!


The Fourth Annual Sore Eye Cup Vote Down!

SoreEyeCup2015Voting has concluded for the 4th Annual Sore Eye Cup! The search for San Diego’s best, regularly produced independent beer moves into the final round. We will honor the winning craft beer with an actual cup (over 64oz capacity)!

At the announcement party we’ll fill up the Cup with the winning beer and the winning brewery will drink from it right then, as is tradition! The winners can then bask in the glory of victory and have bragging rights for an entire year! The announcement party will be Saturday, August 6th at 2pm, at the legendary Tornado. Feel free to add yourself and your friends to the Facebook event.

Ladies and gentlemen, your 2016, Sore Eye Cup Finalists!

.394 from AleSmith

Aurora Hoppyalis from Karl Strauss

Dankness Visible from Burning Beard

Nelson from Alpine

OG High PA from Thorn Street

Pupil from Societe

Nut Brown from AleSmith

Seize the IPA from Second Chance

Tabula Rasa from Second Chance

The Cake is a Lie from Intergalactic


The Statements of San Diego Craft – 2015 – #9

SDCraftgraphicFinalIf 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. This is it! The final post of statements that were shared with me while authoring my biggest article to date. I truly appreciate each and every person that took the time to write me and contribute to my work. When I started this process, I had no idea I would still be publishing these when it was time to start voting for the Sore Eye Cup (that happens tomorrow, by the way!), but there’s no way I would leave these amazing individuals out! Let’s jump in with one of my good friends, Tom for  Continue reading “The Statements of San Diego Craft – 2015 – #9”

The Statements of San Diego Craft – 2015 – #8

SDCraftgraphicFinalIf 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. There’s still 6 statements you haven’t even heard about. Today we’re going to dive into three! First up we have Giana Rodriguez, she’s the program director of the SDSU Craft Beer Certification program, of which, I’m a student. I really enjoy her call for maintaining quality throughout the entire process of creating the amazing beer we have grown accustomed to in San Diego. Continue reading “The Statements of San Diego Craft – 2015 – #8”