Paul Sangster, SD Brewers Guild president, and cofounder of Rip Current Brewing
With each coming new year, the San Diego Brewers Guild elects new leadership. For 2018, local craft beer's trade association will be led by Rip Current Brewing cofounder, Paul Sangster.
1. What are the top agenda items for the San Diego Brewers Guild this year? For this year, we will continue promoting our local beer community as the ‘Capital of Craft,’ by raising awareness for craft beer and making sure San Diegans know how to identify a brewery that is truly independent. Plus, we plan to create more opportunities for our members to get together, collaborate and share their knowledge.
2. In 2018, several out of town beer companies have already opened, or announced plans to open properties within San Diego, including Absolution Brewing, The Bell Marker, Cismontagne Brewing, and Melvin Brewing. Will these new arrivals be eligible for San Diego Brewers Guild membership? Yes. The guild has an open brewery member policy as long as the candidate meets the requirements in our bylaws. For this, we are following the independent craft beer direction of the Brewers Association and California Craft Brewers Association. More specifically, the brewery needs to be ‘small,’ so produce less than 2 million barrels of beer per year, and be ‘independent,’ meaning less than 25% ownership by a large beer producer.
3. Last year saw no fewer than eight breweries go out of business. Is there concern among guild members about the rising competition in the San Diego beer market? Competition is a good thing for the craft beer market in San Diego. It gives customers more options to taste and vote for their favorites with their dollars and buying power. San Diego has incredible beer being made and this is reflected in our yearly haul of awards. San Diego craft brewers welcome the opportunity to have our best beers available on tap next to the new breweries incubating in San Diego, along with those joining us from other regions.
4. There are rumored to have been discussions about re-admitting Ballast Point to the Brewers Guild, after it was removed due to its sale to Constellation brands. Have members expressed interest in reinstating Ballast Point? The San Diego Brewers Guild’s leadership reviewed its goals, mission statement and bylaws, and we feel the organization is going in the right direction by promoting small and independent breweries in the marketplace. This was discussed and voted on by the Guild’s leadership team, so we are confident that we’re doing the right thing for the craft beer movement in San Diego.
Additionally, the San Diego Brewers Guild added a new membership tier—Brewing Industry Professionals, which allows for individual brewing professionals in San Diego to join our organization. This means, whether or not the headquarter brewing company is a member, they are able to individually join the Guild and take advantage of all networking and educational events available to members. Given the current beer landscape and frequency of acquisitions taking place, we wanted to develop a membership that would be inclusive to all talented brewing individuals residing in San Diego County versus penalize those that have no control over decisions made by their brewery.