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The Big Picture San Diego Blog


MetroConnect Company Profile: Rough Draft Brewing Company

July 20, 2016

This is part of a weekly series featuring a profile on one of the 2016 MetroConnect Program companies. MetroConnect is dedicated to helping local San Diego businesses go global and is presented by JPMorgan Chase.

According to a policy brief released by National University System Institute for Policy Research, 114 San Diego-based breweries and brewpubs generated $851 million in sales last year and employed more than 4,500 workers. Ranking second Best Beer Cities in America and taking home big wins at Del Mar’s 10th Annual International Beer Festival, San Diego is clearly making strides in the craft brewing scene. Aptly, our next MetroConnect company profile highlights a successful local brewery that hopes to take their San Diego story (and beer) abroad.

After making the switch from insurance to craft brewing, UC San Diego alum Jeff Silver opened Rough Draft Brewing Company in 2011. The company’s mission is to create innovative, high-quality craft beers worth sharing with those who love beer as much as they do. Rough Draft now has more than a dozen options on constant rotation available in their tasting room, from the Freudian Sip Strong Ale to the Barrel-aged Emboozlement Tripel.

Having recently expanded capacity into the facility next door, Rough Draft is well-prepared to grow its global reach beyond its current exports to Canada and Australia, with a new focus on Mexico, Spain, Japan and Korea. The company plans to leverage the MetroConnect Program to make distributor connections and comply with label regulations, as well as support travel necessary to promote its product internationally.

Silver states, “In manufacturing, there are typically two problems you always face: not making enough and not selling enough. With our capacity expansion, we have ‘making enough’ covered. Now, with the support of the World Trade Center San Diego and MetroConnect, we look forward to   seizing opportunities that come with expanding to new global markets.

Silver and his team remain committed to the growth of the business while still retaining the quality and creativity Rough Draft has become known for. Beer tip: Keep on the lookout for a special raspberry infused ale aged in chardonnay barrels coming out this summer (certain members of the EDC team will definitely be heading over for a tasting).

The success of small- and medium-sized businesses is critical to the region’s future, and increasing their global reach is crucial to that success. Through the MetroConnect Program, companies such as Rough Draft Brewing Company are to be awarded a $10,000 grant provided by JPMorgan Chase to assist with their international efforts, as well as additional support services including: a dedicated trade and investment manager at WTC San Diego to support company participants in deploying overseas strategies during the grant period; access to workshops that address export compliance, financing and fundraising and global marketing; reduced airfare on Japan Airlines direct flights from San Diego to Tokyo; free access to SYSTRAN software for website translation and customer service needs; and consideration to compete for an additional $35,000 during the MetroConnect Grand Prize Pitchfest in November 2016.