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Spotting San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders in a brewery with a beer at 10:30 a.m. on a weekday. Sounds downright scandalous, but worry not, fair citizens, of my suds-slugging hometown. I'm not providing grist for the rumor mill. There were plenty of witnesses who'll vouch for me on this -- it was official business that brought Mayor Sanders out.

In the company of representatives from San Diego's brewing industry -- key personnel from Ballast Point, Green Flash, White Labs, and the San Diego Brewers Guild -- the mayor named June 2011 San Diego Craft Beer Month.

The announcement comes just over a week before San Diego Beer Weekend, a three-day preview of what imbibers can expect when the third-annual San Diego Beer Weekend hits the scene from November 4 through 13. The high point of next week's sneak peek is Beer Hall, a food-and-beer-pairing event that will feature brews from some of SD's best breweries as well as custom-designed edibles from chefs hailing from venues in the San Diego Brewers Guild's allied pub network.

For a complete list of participants and what they'll be providing, visit http://sdbw.org/sdbwend/.

It's the massive success of initiatives like San Diego Beer Week and big-time awards earned by brewers and their wares -- Ballast Point is the reining Small Brewing Company in the World, while several other breweries and brewpubs have earned that distinction on a national scale at the annual Great American Beer Festival -- which has exposed locals and tourists alike to the quality of the quaffables in our city, which is regarded the world over as the craft-beer capital of the United States.

Nowadays, San Diego is a destination for travelers with a penchant for top-shelf ales and lagers. As the Vice President of White Labs (the San Diego-based yeast supplier that is the only business of its type in the entire state of California) Lisa White so eloquently put it, "Craft beer is to San Diego what high-tech is to the Silicon Valley, but our products taste much better."

Such a poignant statement is right at home in front of an outstanding soundbite from Mayor Sanders, who said, "If you're 21 or over and enjoy good beer, it's your civic duty to support local breweries."

Those looking to do so can hit any of the 38 operating brewhouses in San Diego County (five more are about to open up, so working up a tolerance seems imperative) or any of the hundreds of bars, restaurants, or retail outlets carrying their wares. Or hit San Diego Beer Weekend and attend the annual National American Homebrewers Association Conference taking place in Mission Valley June 16 through 18, taste unlimited one-ounce pours at the San Diego International Beer Festival at the San Diego County Fair from June 24 to 26, or check out the Japan Society's Beer and Sake Festival at the San Diego Marriott Del Mar on June 23.

Or you can always venture out to the scene of today's press conference and be one of the first to get something straight from the taps at San Diego's newest tasting room, when Green Flash opens for biz in Mira Mesa for the first time ever from 3 to 9 p.m. today.

Supporting this local business sector not only helps the already-thriving local craft-brewing companies, it trickles down to the 6000-plus San Diegans employed by businesses associated with brewing and helps to spike the economy from a hospitality standpoint.

In the words of Ballast Point Brewing and Spirits Specialty Brewer Colby Chandler, "There are lots of good reasons to love this city, and thanks to brewers who've quietly been going about the business of making good beer for two decades, craft beer is one of them."


Mayor Jerry Sanders addresses the media with the backing of (from left to right) Lisa White, White Labs; Colby Chandler, Ballast Point Brewing and Spirits; Adam Carbonell, San Diego Brewers Guild; Mike and Lisa Hinkley, Green Flash Brewing Co.


Green Flash Brewmaster Chuck Silva pours a cold one from behind his brewery's brand new tasting bar, while owner Mike Hinkley addresses some pre-opening visitors.

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I Am Stardirt June 1, 2011 @ 1:46 p.m.

"If you're 21 or over and enjoy good beer, it's your civic duty to support local breweries." said Mayor Sanders.

Political support for a local legal mind altering product which when taken irresponsibly leads to alcoholism, DUI,and domestic abuse.But hey, who is going to spoil the party by pointing out the hypocrisy.

Medical marijuana is a local legal product helping people who cannot take pharmaceutical pain relievers. A product which anecdotally has helped more people than it has harmed.

Medical cannabis has a stigma attached to it that beer has managed to avoid. Beer is celebrated, cannabis is villified. Cannabis users are having their lives ripped apart by zealous beauracrats seeking political gravitas.

Beer and hemp/cannabis were two of the staples this country was founded upon. Let's acknowledge the hypocrisy and encourage Dumanis to show restraint in her persecution of patients who are responsibily medicating their pain.

It's time we resist pandering to the lowest common denominator. Not all beer drinkers abuse alcohol, not all drug users are abusing. Responsible people are merely seeking alternative ways of dealing with health issues, and cannabis is an alternative.

Cell phones are quickly becoming a major health threat. When that brain cancer starts to eat Mayor Sanders' brain from the inside out, he better hope he still has legal access.


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