It’s rare for a new local brewery to slip under my radar, but recently a new operation launched beer into the San Diego market without me seeing them coming. That operation is trademarked as SD Craft Beverage Co. and has actually been distributing its Cerveza Xteca brand of beers since as far back as February. The trio behind the business hail from Barrio Logan and its surrounding areas and have designed beers they feel appeal to the largely Hispanic population in that and neighboring communities. It sounds like a story that’s been told often, of late, but the Xteca crew’s approach has been quite different thus far.
Fred Sotelo, radio personality Xavier “The X-Man” Soriano and Mario Lopez (no, not that Mario Lopez) are longtime friends who, in 2014, developed a taste for craft IPAs, enough that they eventually desired to brew their own. After that initial bite from the homebrew bug, they consulted multiple resources for guidance, including local yeast-production company White Labs and brewer Carlos Appel. The latter is currently in the process of getting Barrio Logan brewpub Attitude Brewing open. Long before securing his first head-brewer gig, he took the Xteca crew under his wing and into his garage to produce half-barrel batches of beers, including the “Mexican-American Lager” that is now their flagship product.
When it came time to start producing beer on a larger scale for public consumption, rather than establish their own brewery, they searched for a contract-brewing partner. From its South Bay geography to culturally-driven nature, Novo Brazil Brewing checked all the right boxes for Xteca. Through this relationship, Sotelo believes they can produce between 700 and 1,000 barrels annually. So far, all production is limited to Mexican-American Lager, which has been distributed in kegs and bottles to retail accounts in Barrio Logan, Downtown San Diego, Ocean Beach and South Bay communities. A canning run is scheduled for the near future.
Xteca’s highest-profile exposure has been at cultural events, including the San Diego Latino Film Festival; Sabor Latino Food, Beer and Wine Festival; and Chula Vista’s Cruise for the Cause car show. In the future, they hope to establish their own brewing facility in Barrio Logan, complete with a 30-barrel system. For now, their contract-brewed lager is available at nearby spots Salud and El Chingon.