In response to the June issue “Doctor’s Office” column focusing on Ballast Point’s Made in San Diego beer, the San Diego Brewers Guild provided West Coaster the following statement and message from the membership committee:
The San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation and Ballast Point Brewing Co. produced “Made in San Diego,” a beer which aims to “support local entrepreneurs that have the same dream of growing a business right here in this life-changing community.” However, in choosing to partner with Ballast Point Brewing Co., the EDC sent a message to the more than 130 entrepreneurial, independent craft breweries.
While Ballast Point Brewing Co. is a company born in America’s Finest City with a legacy to the brewing community, it is now fully owned and operated by a New York-based international beer conglomerate Constellation Brands, which produces global beer brands such as Corona, Modelo and Pacifico.
The partnership to brew “Made in San Diego” exclusively with Constellation Brands-owned Ballast Point Brewing Co. instead of a locally owned brewery is not representative of our region’s independent craft brewing community and does not support the San Diego Brewers Guild mission. Our organization represents more than 130 small, independent craft breweries which comprise $870,000,000 in economic impact and 5,665 jobs for San Diego (2017 Economic Impact Report, issued by California State University San Marcos), yet the EDC is working with ONE beer company that’s funded and supported by a multinational conglomerate.
We are committed to protecting the hard-earned reputation of local independent beer companies and educating consumers on the importance of purchasing from craft brewers, as defined by the Brewers Association. “Made in San Diego” is a beer that further creates confusion in the marketplace by inaccurately using ‘craft’ on its label and marketing. Thus, the San Diego Brewers Guild does not support the production, distribution and sales of “Made in San Diego,” brewed by Ballast Point Brewing Co. in partnership with the San Diego Regional EDC.
– Ballast Point became ineligible (not “revoked” or “unwelcomed”) for membership wthen they sold to Constellation Brands in 2015.
– San Diego Brewers Guild bylaws follow the “craft beer” definition set forth by the Brewers Association and California Craft Brewers Association.
– After Ballast Point became ineligible for membership, the San Diego Brewers Guild Board of Directors worked to create the ‘Brewing Industry Professional’ membership tier, which allows for all San Diego brewing talent to join the organization. In March 2017, brewing company members voted and approved the new tier and the bylaws were amended. Employees from nonindependent, acquired brands in San Diego County are welcome to apply for individual membership.
“In terms of membership guidelines, the San Diego Brewers Guild has long been aligned with the California Craft Brewers Association on a state level and Brewers Association, nationally. The collective goal is that all three organizations work together to promote small independent brewers and protect their access to market. To be a Brewery Member, our organization’s bylaws follow the Brewers Association’s definition, which specifically requires that ‘less than 25 percent of the craft brewery is owned or controlled (or equivalent economic interest) by a beverage alcohol industry member which is not itself a craft brewer.’
“When a brewery is acquired by a major international beer conglomerate, they no longer comply with this criteria, and are therefore, no longer eligible for Brewery Membership. The acquisition of so many beloved breweries across the nation has been emotional for the industry at large, and San Diego is no exception. Often times, it is the people behind these brewing companies that have helped build our local industry into what it is today. So, in response to these changing dynamics, the SDBG created a new membership level called the ‘Brewing Industry Professional,’ which allows the talented people in our local industry to still be a part of the organization. At this level, individual professional brewers, no matter their company affiliation, may attend general meetings as well as educational and networking events. So, while Ballast Point can no longer be a part of the organization, its individual brewers are welcome to apply for this newly introduced membership tier.”
– Jill Davidson (President Emeritus, San Diego Brewers Guild / Chair of the Membership Committee; Sr. Sales & Brand Development Manager, Pizza Port Brewing Company)