There is a lot of SoCal beer news — new ownership for Stone Brewing (Escondido) and Modern Times (Point Loma) — and so much gets missed every week.
We got you covered. Here is your monthly roundup for July with updates from around the San Diego region:
— California Craft Beer Week returns July 15 to July 24. The collaboration event features breweries and brewers guilds from around the state hosting events, collaboration beer releases, and generally, just supporting the California craft beer industry. See a full list of events by region at: https://cacraftbeerweek.com/.
— If you’ve been on a Netflix’s “Alone” binge — which is the only possible reason I can think of for missing this piece of news — Stone Brewing Company is being sold to Japan’s super beverage conglomerate Sapporo. The company’s U.S. operations also include Anchor Brewing, which it acquired in 2017.
This may be confusing to many, considering Stone Brewing as a company and founder Greg Koch have long decried industry sell-outs. In a last (probably) blog post, Koch acknowledges the about-face, saying:
“Sure. I’d said it dozens of times. Quite possibly well over 100. I 1000% meant it every single time. It’s what I truly believed. I said it while pounding my fist both physically and metaphorically on the table. I’d said it over the telephone or on video with the narrative emphasis ‘…he says while pounding his fist on the table.’ The words: I will never sell out.”
Koch continues on to explain the decision, reflect on changes in the state of the brewing industry, his obligation to the future of Stone Brewing, and much more.
The deal is reportedly worth between $165 million to $185 million dollars and is expected to close sometime in August. At this time, Sapporo is indicating that they will be expanding the Stone teams, not contracting them.
There is no questioning this is big San Diego Beer news, but not as big as it might have been several years ago. There have been numerous big craft brewer sales over the past half-decade. Remember when Ballast Point sold for a billion — with a capital “B” — dollars? Local beer writer Beth Demmon recently pondered whether or not anyone even cares about the Stone sale in a recent piece for Vinepair.com. Read that post here.
— The sale of Modern Times to auction winner Brewery X (Anaheim) hit a major snag, and now, per reporting by Brandon Hernandez on sandiegobeer.news, Maui Brewing Company is back in line to acquire the brewery, restaurant, and tasting room spaces. Barring further complications, the sale is anticipated to close in October 2022.
— Black Plague Brewing is expanding into Escondido. They’ve launched a new tasting room Instagram account,@blackplagueescondido, where you can see some behind-the-scenes of the build-out. The grand opening is anticipated for late-August 2022.
— Apparently, Legacy Brewing in Oceanside has closed, seemingly forever. Luckily, one of the newest Oceanside beer providers,Tipping Pint Brewing Company, is open and co-hosting Aloha Fridays with Carruth Cellars. Get $1 off your pint or glass of wine if you’re wearing a Hawaiian shirt.
— Vista’s Battlemage Brewing has launched its Guild Club Membership ($99/annually). Membership gets you bigger pours, invites to member’s only parties, exclusive merch, and early access to new beer releases. Head to the brewery to sign up.
— Finally, congratulations are in order for Liberace, the now-famous 13-year-old Yorkie rescued from a puppy mill by Karl Strauss co-founder Matt Rattner and his wife, Loren. Liberace, a blind dog with no teeth and alopecia, was named the People’s Choice at the Sonoma-Marin Fair’s 2022 World’s Ugliest Dog Contest. His favorite beers are Red Trolley and Boat Shoes from the also award-winning Karl Strauss Brewing Company.