Although it’s an industry group run by volunteers from within the local brewing industry, the San Diego Brewers Guild enjoys admirable visibility among beer fans due to its high level of engagement with them, the media and the member breweries it serves. Over the past decade, the Guild has expanded its members services, offerings, lobbying and fundraising efforts significantly, putting more weight on the shoulders of its elected officials, most notably the individuals serving as president. Each calendar year, that person changes. In 2020, the Guild will be guided by Kris Anacleto from Vista’s Booze Brothers Brewing, a well-connected, ambitious jack-of-all-trades with experience in marketing, event coordination, tasting room management and more. We sat down with the incoming president to find out why he wanted the job, what the Guild will be focusing on this year and how staff from other breweries can get involved.
What does it mean to you, personally, to serve as president of the Guild?
It’s pretty wild for me to be taking this position. Being president essentially means being the face of independent San Diego beer in some way, and that’s a pretty big responsibility in my eyes. I’m excited to do it, but for sure a little nervous. It’s definitely an honor to be in that position, and with the help of the Board of Directors, I think it’ll be a really fun year navigating this role.
What have you learned from outgoing president Matt Zirpolo from Burgeon Beer Co.?
Well, Matt and I both started sitting on the board at the same time, and I became the vice president at the same time as he became president, so I feel like we’ve been on the same path with the board from the beginning. That being said, Matt has done a really good job of speaking positively about the industry and community, and I’ve definitely taken some notes on how he handles a lot of questions in a positive light. I have been known to be blunt about certain topics, but Matt has handled a lot of those things gracefully, so hopefully I can learn from those cues.
What are the Guild’s primary initiatives for 2020?
We’re restructuring how we do some of the general meetings, putting even more focus on the Tap Into Knowledge (professional development and education) series, and continuing to fine-tune our major events like Rhythm and Brews and San Diego Beer Week. We will continue to provide support for our members and promote San Diego as a craft beer destination.
What strikes a chord for you and what will you be working to advance?
This could be a long-winded answer, but my main goal is to be any type of support a member might need. When Booze Brothers first became a member, I remember utilizing the Guild as a tool to learn a lot of what we needed to know when it comes to running a brewery in San Diego. My goal is to offer just as much help—if not more—to members that need it. I think the Guild has been doing a great job over the past few years really stepping up what we have to offer members, so I think things will continue moving in that positive direction.
Why do you feel it’s important for members of the industry to donate their time to the Guild?
Like I said earlier, when Booze Brothers first opened, we relied on the Guild a lot to learn what was going on in San Diego beer. To say we were naïve in 2013 would be an understatement, but thankfully the San Diego community helped us out so much, and we learned relatively quickly. I feel like a lot of breweries have a similar story, so to be able to give back to a source that’s helped so many of us out seems like it would be a good feeling for all to participate in at some point.
What are good ways for others to get involved?
In previous years, a lot of committees were mainly made up of board members and officers, but we’re trying to get membership to jump on these and feel out if they would like to take on a bigger role within the Guild. For example, this year our Rhythm and Brews Committee is Mike Stevenson from Culver Beer Co., Craig Nelson from Resident Brewing, Jill Olesh and Joe Argeullo from Pizza Port Brewing, Mike Wilson from Iron Fist Brewing and myself. None of them sit on the board, but they’re all actively working on an event that helps fundraise for the Guild. We’d love to get more members involved on future committees.