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Craft Beer

“We love the San Diego beer community and to be part of it is a dream come true. We want to take the brewery to the next level.”

Cameron Rench, Stumblefoot Brewing Company
Feb 20, 2017

Consistently recognized as the Craft Beer Capital of America, San Diego’s brewing scene has exploded over the past two decades. With staple names like Stone Brewing, Karl Strauss, Green Flash and Ballast Point, as well as new-comers like Rough Draft Brewing and Thorn Street popping up almost daily, San Diego provides a diverse array of brewery styles, sizes and vibes across the county (and even across the border). San Diego is home to more than 130 brewhouses, making it one of the most concentrated regions for craft brewing in the country.1
Unique to San Diego, the convergence of life sciences and lifestyle has bolstered industry growth, with companies like White Labs producing brewing yeast for brewers near and far. A few breweries have even been started by former scientists and life sciences veterans, including Lightning Brewing and Thorn Street Brewing.

Industry Highlights & Contributions

  • Recognized quality: San Diego breweries took home 18 medals at the Great American Beer Festival in 2016, including five medals for Karl Strauss who was named “Best Midsized Brewery.”2
  • Economic impact: San Diego’s brewing industry generated $851 million in 2015, and employed 4,512 workers.3
  • History: Established in 1896, San Diego Brewing Company was the first pre-prohibition brewery in San Diego, but the modern brewing boom dates back to 1989 with the establishment of Karl Strauss.4
  • Going global: Stone Brewing became one of the first U.S. craft breweries to open a location in Europe with the opening of its Berlin, Germany operations in 2016.

Key Companies

  • Alpine Beer Company
  • Ballast Point
  • Belching Beaver
  • Coronado Brewing 
  • Green Flash  
  • Karl Strauss
  • Modern Times
  • Mike Hess
  • Pizza Port
  • Port/The Lost Abbey
  • Rough Draft Brewing
  • San Diego Brewing Co.
  • Stone Brewing


San Diego Brewers Guild

Founded in 1997, San Diego Brewers Guild promotes awareness and increases the visibility of fresh, locally brewed beer through education and participation in community events.

San Diego Tourism Authority

SDTA  is a private, nonprofit composed of approximately 1,100 member organizations, businesses, local governments and individuals seeking a better community through the visitor industry. The organization assists visitors throughout the region at three visitor centers and with a comprehensive website that enables visitors to search for and book accommodations and tickets to attractions.


Introduction: 1. West Coaster’s San Diego Brewery Watch, 2017 | Highlights: 2. Great American Beer Festival, “2016 Great American Beer Festival Winners”, 2016 3. National University System Institute for Policy Research, “San Diego Craft Brewing Industry: 2016 Update”, 2016 4. San Diego Brewing Co., “Who We Are”