CCBA San Diego Conference Recap

May 27th, 2015 by CCBA



BY: Mike Sardina, Societe Brewing Co, via the West Coaster SD

Sitting in a room with 400 other people, Tom McCormick, the Executive Director of the California Craft Brewers Association (the “CCBA”), is up on stage at the CCBA’s Spring Conference. Tom has arguably been one of the most vocal and ardent supporters of California beer for the last decade or so, and when he is speaking, this group of people listens. “I need to correct a statement I made earlier,” Tom says. “California brewers don’t just some great beer in this country, they brew the best f#ck!ng beer in the United States.” Based on the reaction of the Conference attendees—most of them representatives from brewery members of the CCBA—they clearly agreed.

Beer is big in California, but of course, we here in San Diego already know that. We’ve got 107 operational brew houses in the county. Across all of California, there are now over 550 independent, craft breweries, and projections have it at 600 total by the end of the year. The CCBA Conference, a bi-annual event that is held once each spring in Southern California and once each fall in Northern California, is the opportunity for the brewing community to get together to learn about the industry, to catch-up with old friends, to network with new friends, and enjoy some great beer.

The two-day Conference held last week featured about a dozen educational workshops that covered important topics, including a legislative update on policy issues facing breweries in California, as well as a practical workshop on ABC (California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control) issues surrounding festivals and events and social media use. The drought, and concerns about water, was a major topic covered at the Conference. There was a panel for start-up breweries and breweries in planning, a workshop on brewhouse safety, and a workshop that covered the basics of distribution laws in California. There was a technical workshop on barrel-aged beers too—Tomme Arthur (The Lost Abbey/Port Brewing Company/The Hop Concept) and Patrick Rue (The Bruery) shared technical insight and provided a guided tasting of beers like “Grey Monday” and “Red Poppy.” At 9:30 a.m.

The Conference highlights came on Tuesday afternoon, when Lori Ajax, the Chief Deputy Director of the California ABC engaged in an open discussion about what the regulatory agency can do better in order to help promote the brewing industry in California. With an economic impact of $6.5 billion in 2014, beer is clearly important to our state. It is an encouraging sign to see more overall recognition of this fact—at the governmental level and at the consumer level, alike.

The Conference concluded with a keynote presentation that was all about San Diego beer. Gina Marsaglia (Pizza Port Brewing Company), Lee Doxtader (Callahan’s Pub), and Chris Cramer (Karl Strauss Brewing Company), with a combined 74 years of brewing experience in San Diego, sat on a panel with Vinnie Cilurzo to discuss the then-and-now of San Diego beer. Karl Strauss began operations in 1989, and Callahan’s and Pizza Port were quick to follow. These three pioneers of San Diego beer discussed the significant changes they have witnessed—in the licensing and permitting behind running a brewery, the sourcing of equipment and ingredients, the educational level of consumers, and the types of beer that people like to drink. “Back then, people thought that dark beer came from the bottom of the keg, and that light beer was at the top,” Lee Doxtader joked. “They thought the beer was darker because it was down there at the bottom.” Go out in San Diego—to any brewery Tasting Room, beer bar, or finer restaurant—you’ll find a thriving and vibrant brewing community, with awesome local examples of both dark and light beers. Poured out of separate kegs. We’ve come a long way.

The California Craft Brewers Association is hosting the first California Craft Beer Summit this fall in Sacramento, on September 11 – 12, 2015.
Every single craft brewer in California is invited to participate. The event will be the first of its kind, an interactive and experiential event that focuses on all things California Beer.
The event will include a trade show, educational seminars, beer and food pairings, and of course, a beer festival.
For more information, visit:


The California craft beer is a $6.5 billion industry, according to new data released today by the California Craft Brewers Association (CCBA). As of March 2015 there were 554 operating breweries in California, more than any other state in the nation. 

“Over the past few years we’ve seen consistent growth in the craft beer industry both here in California and across the nation,” said Tom McCormick, executive director of the California Craft Brewers Association.  “Last year was by far the strongest upward trend we’ve seen, an amazing year for craft brewing in California.”

California is the birthplace of the American craft brewing movement and at the forefront of the industry’s growth. California produces one out of every five craft beers produced in the United States.

“California craft brewers play an important role in supporting the economic engine in California,” said McCormick. “The CCBA’s initiatives continue to promote and protect the growth of the craft brewing industry in California.”


Economic Impact – In 2014 Craft beer contributed more than $6.5 billion to the economy of California. That’s up 18% from 2013.  The craft beer industry in California has a higher economic impact than any other state in the U.S.

Employment – In 2014 the craft beer industry created more than 48,000 jobs.

Growth – During 2014 the number of operating breweries grew by more than 24% giving us a total of 520 operating breweries in California at the end of 2014.

Taxes – In 2014 California craft brewers paid more than $56 million in State and federal excise taxes and paid more than $1.3 billion in income and other local, state and federal taxes ($880 million in state and local income taxes and $465 in federal income taxes).

Production Volume – California craft brewers produced 3.4 Million barrels of beer in 2014.

Exports – California craft brewers exported 1.3 million barrels of beer in 2014. That’s still higher than the total production of all but two other states (PA and CO)



Tradeshow panaroma

A record 11,500 attendees packed the 32nd annual Brewers Association Craft Brewers Conference in Portland, Oregon for another hugely successful gathering of the craft brewing tribe. The attendance was a 22% jump over last year’s conference in Denver and a record 1700 breweries were represented. The tradeshow floor also brought in a record 600 exhibitors and was generally busy most of the time.

Although it is no longer a surprise to break registration numbers from previous years, and no longer an unusual sight to see vendors and attendees from around the world, it is still a shock to longtime industry veterans to witness such an enormous industry crowd gathered in one place at one time for craft beer. It was not that many years ago that just a few thousand attended the conference in the confines of a single hotel property. The event has now begun to outgrow even some of the mid-sized convention centers. The Portland Convention Center did not have adequate space to host either the Opening Reception or the keynote address. Long winding lines of brewers and allied trade members made their way over to the nearby Veterans Memorial Coliseum, former home of the Portland Trail Blazers and where the likes of Elvis, the Beatles and of course the Grateful Dead played. It was an odd feeling to be sitting in a sports arena to hear the opening remarks and keynote, but BA Director Paul Gatza reminded the crowd of the historical significance by standing on the stage exactly where Jerry Garcia stood the moment Mt. Saint Helens had its second eruption.

During the opening remarks, BA staff gave the usual rundown on the statistics from last year. Although most of these 2014 numbers have already been published, they were still inspirational to hear. Craft beer was up in 2014, 18% by volume and 22% in dollars for a total market share of 11%. The beer industry as a whole being up only 0.5%, showing that yet again craft beer is the beer industry leader. With 615 new openings last year, the year-end total was 3413 craft breweries nationally. Only 46 craft breweries closed last year.

Three members of the brewing community were recognized and awarded for their dedication and service during the opening session, including California’s own Steve Dresler of Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. who received the Russell Schehrer Award for Innovation in Brewing.

Where next? It will be a long wait until the CBC returns to the West Coast. The 2016 CBC will be held in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, from May 3-6th and then moving on to Washington, DC in 2017. The conference will likely be in a Southern state in 2018 and a Mid-West state in 2019 before returning to the West for 2020. By then it will certainly have outgrown most conventions centers leaving San Francisco, San Diego or Los Vegas as the likely candidates.


Ticket sales open for a first-of-a-kind event bringing together California’s craft brewers and craft beer enthusiasts

Today the California Craft Brewers Association launched online ticket sales for a first-of-a-kind event, the California Craft Beer Summit and Brewers Showcase. More than 150 California breweries are expected to participate in events ranging from beer tastings to educational brewing sessions at the two day summit, including industry icons such as Ken Grossman, founder of Sierra Nevada; David Walker, co-founder of Firestone Walker Brewing Co.; and Natalie and Vinnie Cilurzo, owners of Russian River Brewing Co.

“This is a golden ticket into the world of craft brewing,” said Tom McCormick, executive director of the California Craft Brewers Association. “This type of access to experienced brewers, and insight into the culture and creativity of craft brewing is unheard of. When you live in a state that is overwhelmingly passionate about the art of craft beer, you don’t expect tickets to last for long.”  

The summit will bring together retailers, wholesalers, brewery owners, beer enthusiasts and home-brewers for an educational, hands-on experience to see, touch, smell and taste beer.

“This is not just a celebration of California’s craft brewers,” said McCormick. “It is a thank you to all craft beer enthusiasts who value the art, culture and quality of California’s craft beers.”

Ticket packages and pricing for the weekend range from $60 to $239 and include a variety of educational sessions, tasting and food pairing activities, VIP access and festival events on September 11-12 in Sacramento.

“We are beyond thrilled to be a part of the growing craft beer culture in California,” said Mike Sardina with Societe Brewing Company in San Diego. “This summit is a significant and exciting event for our brewery and it is important for the entire craft brewing community in this state.”

Tickets for the event are available at

A complete speaker and topic schedule will be released In May 2015.

To learn more about the craft beer industry in California, please follow California Craft Brewers Association on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.



The CCBA is excited and proud to announce the launch of the California Craft Beer Summit and Brewers Showcase to connect California’s thriving craft brewing industry to beer enthusiasts across the state. This first-of-its-kind event will profile California craft beer and celebrate the brewers whose creativity and passion have formed the world’s most coveted beers. The two day summit and brewers showcase will be held in Sacramento on September 11th-12th, 2015.

The two day event will allow attendees to see, smell, taste and feel beer while learning about beer styles, how beer is made and experience an inside view of the craft brewing industry.  The trade show floor will feature numerous demonstrations and “Tap Talks” while breakout seminars in a classroom setting will explore all facets of craft beer.

The Expo will culminate with the “Brewers Showcase” – a unique beer festival and village that will profile and highlight craft beers from all across California.

Summit Website IS LIVE! More information on the event can be found here:

Sponsorship Opportunities: Looking at ways your company can get involved? Sponsorship Opportunities can be found here. Contact- [email protected] 

Brewery Participation: Interested in pouring your beer at the Brewers Showcase? Please email  [email protected]


‘Farmers’ Market Bill’ is Now Law

January 12th, 2015 by CCBA


The CCBA-sponsored Assembly Bill 2004 (Chesbro) added Section 23399.45 to the Business and Professions Code, effective 01/01/15.  This provision creates a new Certified Farmers’ Market Beer Sales Permit, which has been designated as a Type 84. 

The new permit will allow beer manufacturers (Types 01 and 23) to sell sealed containers of beer off-sale to consumers at certified farmers’ markets.  Each permit allows the permit-holder to exercise this privilege at a single certified farmers’ market one day per week.  However, a licensee may hold additional permits authorizing these activities at multiple certified farmers’ markets.  Permits may only be issued to licensees for certified farmers’ markets held in the same county in which their manufacturing facility is located or the county adjacent to such location.

The privileges and restrictions of the Certified Farmers’ Market Permit are as follows:

•             Permit can only be issued at a specific address that is a certified farmers’ market as defined by Chapter 10.5 of Division 17 of the Food and Agriculture Code.

•             Permit can only be used one day per week at each certified farmers’ market.

•             Beer manufacturers can have more than one permit at different certified farmers’ market locations.

•             Permit may only be issued for a location within the same county of or adjacent county to the licensed beer manufacturing facility.

•             Sales at certified farmers’ market(s) are not to exceed 5,000 gallons of beer annually. Licensees shall maintain records of sales under this permit.

•             No refilling of containers/growlers is permitted (pre-filled and sealed growlers may be sold).

•             No tasting or samples of beer may be provided or sold by permit holders.

•             Permits can only be issued to licensees who hold either a Type 01 or a Type 23.