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A Brief History of Beer in San Diego, California

History of Craft Beer in San Diego, California
San Diego’s Oldest Brewery

San Diego has been known as the Craft Beer Capital of America, and it’s for good reason. San Diego has a history with beer that dates back to 1896 when the first commercial brewery, San Diego Brewery opened in the city. San Diego had 7 breweries that opened afterward, but the San Diego Brewery became the largest manufacturing enterprise in the area. The brewery delivered 140,000 barrels of beer a year to local hotel bars and saloons until the Prohibition in 1920.

After the repeal, there were 3 breweries left standing in San Diego: Aztec Brewing Company, San Diego Brewing Company, and Balboa Brewing Company. These were later purchased by the “Big 3” brewing companies (Anheuser-Busch, Coors, and Miller) or driven out of business. From 1953 to the 1980s the local beer market was dominated by the large national brewers until the first craft brewery in San Diego opened in 1989.

Karl Strauss Brewing Company was the first craft brewery to open in San Diego. At this time, there had been no new breweries open in the city for over 50 years. The brewery introduced new beer styles to San Diego, like the Amber Lager and Pale Ale. The opening of Karl Strauss is said to be the start of craft breweries in San Diego. Karl Strauss is still active today in San Diego and many of their original workers went on to start their own breweries, as well.

Why Should You Drink San Diego Beers?

Buying locally-made beers from San Diego breweries helps support local businesses and fosters growth in the California beer industry which can lead to economic development. Drinking craft beers from San Diego’s craft breweries is important because the beer industry in United States is huge.

What is #DrinkLocal?

#DrinkLocal is more than just a beer hashtag, it’s a craft beer movement.

Drink Local or “#drinklocal” is an important grass-roots social movement. The #DrinkLocal tag creates awareness and support for local breweries, pubs, taprooms and liquor stores. Click here to learn more about the #drinklocal movement or tap into the world of San Diego Craft Beer by checking out our San Diego Beer Guide.

A Brief History of Beer in San Diego, California

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