Robert Bush 6:31 p.m., May 18
Some people wear tuxes when they’re receiving big awards. At this year’s Great American Beer Festival, the biggest brewing competition in the country, several Pizza Port employees wore t-shirts that read “Who the fuck is Jeff Bagby?” when collecting the plethora of medals won by the local brewpub chain.
It was a joke, of course—everybody on the medal stand and the surrounding crowd knew Bagby as the dynamic brewer from Pizza Port’s Carlsbad brewpub.
Why so popular? Since coming onboard in 2005, he’s played an integral role in Pizza Port bringing home more medals than any other San Diego brewhouse over that span as well as the GABF Large Brewpub of the Year distinction each of the past three years.
Bagby’s successes in a brewpub environment are unrivaled in the local market (or just about anywhere), which makes it all that much more surprising that he’s deciding to leave the Pizza Port empire. Yet, that’s what’s happening.
Come January, he’ll be out on his own and checking out prime real estate at which to open his own North County brewpub. Given his track record, it's no surprise there are a number of businesspeople who will be willing to invest in this Midas-style brewer's new venture.
Back at Pizza Port, it’s a safe bet things will continue to roll along just fine with Ignacio "Nacho" Cervantes taking over the vacated brewer position. Bagby has always gone to great lengths to give his brewing team the training and responsibility required for them to grow and perform at their best.
All those medals and the consistency that’s made Pizza Port Carlsbad a top tier beer enthusiast destination are a testament to how successful those efforts have been.