SACRAMENTO, Calif. (October 2, 2015) – Tom McCormick, executive director of the California Craft Brewers Association (CCBA), issued the following statement today in response to Governor Jerry Brown signing Assembly Bill 780, authored by Assembly Member Das Williams (D-Santa Barbara).

“AB 780 is great news for craft enthusiasts in our state who are hungry for information about their favorite beers. The bill allows craft breweries in California, as of January 1st, 2016, to communicate product availability information to their fans on social media, including where to purchase specialty beers at local stores and restaurants. This is an exciting development for CCBA’s brewery members who use social media regularly to communicate with fans and potential customers.

The new allowance will have restriction in order to adhere to the state’s tied house laws. A social media post may only contain the name, location, address and web site of the licensed retailer. It cannot include any laudatory, promotional or marketing references and each post must contain the equal listing of two or more retailers.

“More than ever, California’s craft beer drinkers are looking to their favorite breweries for information about special releases or where to purchase their favorite craft beer at a local retail location,” said McCormick. “Prior to AB 780, a brewery could only communicate product availability after a direct inquiry from a customer.  AB 780 removes the requirement for a formal request and allows for better communication between breweries and their fans, as long as two or more retail locations are included in the social media post.

“This year has been marked by tremendous growth and support for the craft beer industry in California. The industry contributed $6.5 billion to the state economy last year and now boasts nearly 600 craft breweries, more than any other state in the nation. CCBA members appreciate the support of Gov. Brown and Assembly Member Das Williams and look forward to the continued growth of craft beer in California.”



The Great American Beer Festival presented by the Brewers Association is the largest commercial beer competition in the world.

A record 6,738 beers were judged in 92 categories by 242 judges.

California was the top medal winner with 65 medals by craft brewers out of 275 medals awarded,  followed by Colorado with 36. California craft brewers won 21 gold medals, almost a quarter of all gold medals awarded!

CONGRATULATIONS to our CCBA Members who received 2015 GABF medals!

2015 Brewery and Brewer of the Year Awards

Very Small Brewing Company and Very Small Brewing Company Brewer of the Year
Rip Current Brewery, San Marcos, CA Paul Sangster & Guy Shobe

Mid-Size Brewing Company and Mid-Size Brewing Company Brewer of the Year
Firestone Walker Brewing Co., Paso Robles, CA Firestone Walker Brewing Co. Team

Category: 5 Belgian-Style Fruit Beer – 63 Entries
Silver: Kumquat Saison, Smog City Brewing, Torrance, CA

Category: 8 Chili Beer – 79 Entries
Bronze: Ballast Point Pale Ale with Serrano, Ballast Point Brewing & Spirits – Scripps Ranch, San Diego, CA

Category: 10 Chocolate Beer – 65 Entries
Silver: El Toro Coco Chocolate Stout, El Toro Brewing Co., Morgan Hill, CA

Category: 11 Coffee Beer – 149 Entries
Silver: Mocha Machine, Beachwood BBQ & Brewing, Long Beach, CA
Bronze: Bacon and Eggs, Pizza Port Ocean Beach, San Diego, CA

Category: 13 Rye Beer – 84 Entries
Bronze: Pt. Bonita Rustic Lager, Headlands Brewing Co., Mill Valley, CA

Category: 14 Honey Beer – 52 Entries
Bronze: Spring Fever, FiftyFifty Brewing Co., Truckee, CA

Category: 15 Session Beer – 44 Entries
Silver: MCA, 21st Amendment Brewery Cafe, San Francisco, CA
Bronze: Guillaume, Pizza Port Ocean Beach, San Diego, CA

Category: 16 Session India Pale Ale – 161 Entries
Gold: The Coachman, Societe Brewing Co., San Diego, CA
Bronze: Nose Candy, Noble Ale Works, Anaheim, CA

Category: 17 Other Strong Beer – 43 Entries
Silver: Humboldt Brownie, Mad River Brewing Co., Blue Lake, CA

Category: 18 Experimental Beer – 85 Entries
Gold: Mystery Airship Imperial Chocolate Porter, New Helvetia Brewing Co., Sacramento, CA

Category: 22 American-Belgo-Style Ale – 71 Entries
Gold: Le Freak, Green Flash Brewing Co., San Diego, CA

Category: 23 American-Style Sour Ale – 86 Entries
Silver: Ensorcelled, The Rare Barrel, Berkeley, CA
Bronze: Apropos of Nothing, The Rare Barrel, Berkeley, CA

Category: 28 Wood- and Barrel-Aged Sour Beer – 137 Entries
Gold: Veritas 015, The Lost Abbey, San Marcos, CA
Bronze: Sour Opal, Firestone Walker Barrelworks, Buellton, CA

Category: 29 Aged Beer – 38 Entries
Gold: Big Deluxe, Ritual Brewing Co., Redlands, CA

Category: 30 Kellerbier or Zwickelbier – 45 Entries
Gold: STS Pils, Russian River Brewing Co., Santa Rosa, CA

Category: 33 German-Style Pilsener – 100 Entries
Gold: Pivo, Firestone Walker Brewing Co., Paso Robles, CA

Category: 35 Munich-Style Helles – 55 Entries
Gold: Bucket Seat Blonde, Garage Brewing Co. & Pizzeria, Temecula, CA

Category: 38 American-Style Cream Ale – 56 Entries
Bronze: Nuff, Dale Bros Brewery, Upland, CA

Category: 41 American-Style Amber Lager – 48 Entries
Bronze: St. Florian’s Brewery California Common, St. Florian’s Brewery, Windsor, CA

Category: 43 American-Style Dark Lager – 21 Entries
Gold: Lagerithm, Bottle Logic Brewing, Anaheim, CA
Silver: Lighter Than I Look, Figueroa Mountain Brewing – Arroyo Grande, Arroyo Grande, CA

Category: 45 Bock – 38 Entries
Gold: Break Line Bock, Rip Current Brewery, San Marcos, CA

Category: 47 Baltic-Style Porter – 35 Entries
Gold: Cobaltic Porter, Bottle Logic Brewing, Anaheim, CA

Category: 48 Golden or Blonde Ale – 107 Entries
Silver: Boxcar Blonde Ale, Heroes Restaurant and Brewery, Riverside, CA
Bronze: Alpine Gold, Tied House Cafe & Brewery -Mountain View, CA

Category: 51 Classic English-Style Pale Ale – 46 Entries
Gold: Mr. Kite’s Pale Ale, Social Kitchen & Brewery, San Francisco, CA

Category: 52 English-Style India Pale Ale – 42 Entries
Bronze: Hammersmith IPA, Firestone Walker Brewing Co., Paso Robles, CA

Category: 53 International-Style Pale Ale – 75 Entries
Bronze: San Diego-Style IPA, Karl Strauss Brewing Co. – La Jolla, CA

Category: 54 American-Style Pale Ale – 160 Entries
Silver: Hoppy Palm, Track 7 Brewing Co. – Natomas, Sacramento, CA

Category: 57 Imperial India Pale Ale – 208 Entries
Bronze: Teahupo’o, Breakwater Brewing Co., Oceanside, CA

Category: 58 American-Style Amber/Red Ale – 94 Entries
Bronze: Sharkbite Red, Pizza Port Bressi Ranch, Carlsbad, CA

Category: 59 Double Red Ale – 71 Entries
Silver: Toaster Pastry, 21st Amendment Brewery, San Leandro, CA
Bronze: GRAMBO, Pizza Port Solana Beach, Solana Beach, CA

Category: 61 English-Style Mild Ale – 40 Entries
Silver: Summer Porter, Fort Point Beer Co., San Francisco, CA

Category: 62 Ordinary or Special Bitter – 43 Entries
Gold: DBA (Double Barrel Ale), Firestone Walker Brewing Co., Paso Robles, CA

Category: 67 American-Style Brown Ale – 85 Entries
Bronze: Restraint, Institution Ale Co., Camarillo, CA

Category: 68 American-Style Black Ale – 54 Entries
Silver: Singularity, Karl Strauss Brewing Co. – Costa Mesa, CA

Category: 71 South German-Style Hefeweizen – 95 Entries
Bronze: Windansea Wheat, Karl Strauss Brewing Co., San Diego, CA

Category: 72 German-Style Wheat Ale – 38 Entries
Bronze: Monkey Business, New Bohemia Brewing Co., Santa Cruz, CA

Category: 75 French- and Belgian-Style Saison – 132 Entries
Bronze: Saison, URBN St. Brewing Co., El Cajon, CA

Category: 77 Belgian-Style Lambic or Sour Ale – 78 Entries
Silver: Feral One, Firestone Walker Barrelworks, Buellton, CA

Category: 81 Other Belgian-Style Ale – 45 Entries
Bronze: Witty Moron, Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens – Liberty Station, San Diego, CA

Category: 82 Brown Porter – 57 Entries
Silver: Peter Brown Tribute Ale, Bear Republic Brewing Co. – Factory 5, Cloverdale, CA

Category: 84 Classic Irish-Style Dry Stout – 36 Entries
Gold: Stearns Stout, Figueroa Mountain Brewing – Santa Barbara, CA
Silver: Dragoon’s Dry Irish Stout, Moylan’s Brewery & Restaurant, Novato, CA

Category: 85 Export Stout – 39 Entries
Bronze: Z-man Stout, Pizza Port Carlsbad, Carlsbad, CA

Category: 88 Oatmeal Stout – 73 Entries
Silver: Scripps Pier Stout, South Park Brewing – CA, San Diego, CA

Category: 90 Scotch Ale – 55 Entries
Silver: Black Lagoon Scottish Strong, Rip Current Brewery, San Marcos, CA

Category: 92 Barley Wine-Style Ale – 56 Entries
Gold: Fat Hog, Ritual Brewing Co., Redlands, CA

Full List of all GABF 2015 winners here

Keynote by Greg Koch, co-founder of Stone bBrewing Co.

Keynote by Greg Koch, co-founder of Stone Brewing Co.

The premier, statewide celebration of California’s craft beer draws thousands of craft beer drinkers and industry icons to Sacramento, September 11-12.

Tom McCormick, executive director of the California Craft Brewers Association (CCBA), issued the following statement today hailing the success of the first California Craft Beer Summit and Brewers Showcase beer festival on September 11-12 in Sacramento, Calif.

“This first-year, first-of-its-kind event welcomed more than 500 brewers, and thousands of craft beer enthusiasts, retailers and wholesalers from across the state to the California Craft Beer Summit and Brewers Showcase beer festival. The two-day event celebrated the growing industry in California and the West Coast craft beers wildly in demand around the globe.

“Craft beer was born in California and has become an iconic industry for our state. Last year alone, the industry contributed $6.5 billion to the economy. The Summit was a crowning event celebrating a historic time for California craft beer, providing attendees with the unique opportunity to explore our state’s finest breweries and meet the brewers who have pushed this industry forward.

“The Craft Beer Summit offered something for everyone, including overflowing educational seminars on the craft brewing process and the history of the industry, a vibrant and energetic Expo Hall showcasing the key ingredients in beer, “Tap Talks” with leading brewers and taste tests from beer regions across the state.   

“The Brewers Showcase was the weekend’s culminating event, the first and largest California craft beer festival featuring craft breweries, both big and small, from all across the state. Vinnie and Natalie Cilurzo from Russian River, David Walker from Firestone Walker and Adair Paterno from Sante Adarius Rustic Ales were some of the many brewers pouring their own beers for festival attendees, closing the gap between brewer and craft beer drinker.

“Overall, the Craft Beer Summit was a creative and successful event highlighting the state’s craft beer industry. It raised the bar for craft beer events across the nation. While the CCBA may take a moment to toast the success of this year’s Summit, we are already looking forward to planning for 2016.”

To view more photos of the 2015 CA Craft Beer Summit, please click here.




1) It’s the California version of the “Great American Beer Fest”

This is the showcase event for craft beer – a premier California craft beer festival. People from all over the state (and country) can come to Sacramento to see (and taste) our thriving craft beer scene. Our beers are coveted across the nation, so here is your opportunity to try all of them!

2) Learn the 101 of Brewing your own beer

Want to start a new hobby? Maybe you want to up your beer brewing game and start using professional equipment? Learn the 101 of malt, hops and yeast or advance your education as a professional homebrewer.

3) Sample sour beers with the sour beer experts

Whether you are longtime sour beer fan or just starting to acquire a taste for this style there is no better way to taste than with Vinnie Cilurzo from Russian River and Patrick Rue from The Bruery.

4) Shake hands with the person growing your favorite hops

Dive hop first into the Farm-to-Fork culture of California! Touch, smell and taste fresh hops while learning about the different styles that go into the beers you love.


5) Taste food and beer paired by culinary artists

Food and beer, what is better than that? Award winning chefs partner with brewers to showcase fresh, local, California inspired dishes and the best craft beers.


6) Know your IPA

Hop Heads unite! Come hear the master of the style discuss the origins, flavor profile, brewing technique and nuances of this hop-forward beer style. At the end of the day you’ll definitely be able to impress your friends.

7) Meet the Women leading the beer movement in California

Women have made a mark on the craft beer. Join Natalie Cilurzo, co-owner of Russian River Brewing Co. at the Friday Tap Talk and hear about the amazing things women are working on in the craft beer world.

8) Taste 400 beers from all over California

It’s the first and largest California-brewed craft beer festival, an opportunity to taste 400 beers from more than 150 breweries from across the state! Wander through the microbreweries of Northern California, sample the award winning beers from San Diego and taste the best beers from all the breweries in between. Check out the specialty beers that will be released at the Summit here.

Dont’ miss this one-of-a-kind craft beer weekend- on Sept. 11th & 12th in Sacramento- purchase tickets to the Beer Festival & Summit Expo here


California Craft Brewers Association Applauds Governor Brown for Signing AB 774

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (July 15, 2015) – Tom McCormick, executive director of the California Craft Brewers Association (CCBA), issued the following statement today in response to Governor Jerry Brown signing Assembly Bill 774, authored by Assembly Member Marc Levine (D-San Rafael) and sponsored by the CCBA.

“AB 774 is an exciting development for the craft beer industry in California. This bill allows craft brewers to offer tastings at their regional Farmers Markets, allowing breweries to introduce the art of craft beer to new audiences across the state. Potential customers can sample the beers they may be purchasing for off-site consumption and breweries can connect directly with local craft beer enthusiasts and access additional sales opportunities. This bill supports the craft brewing industry’s growing contribution to the California economy and allows local breweries to educate their customers on the rich diversity of locally made beers.

“AB 774 will also allow non-profits to receive beer donations from breweries to assist them in their fundraising activities, including auctions and raffles. Currently, non-profit special event license holders are not allowed to sell donated beer for off-site consumption. This is an exciting development for CCBA’s brewery members, many of which are very involved in community charity organizations across the state.

“This year has been marked by tremendous growth and support for the craft beer industry in California, an industry that contributed more than $6.5 billion to the state economy in 2014. CCBA member breweries applaud Gov. Brown for continuing to encourage the community of California’s craft brewers and thank Assembly Member Marc Levine for authoring AB 774. We are looking forward to a strong future for craft beer in California.”

Beer, Water & the Drought – Part I

June 23rd, 2015 by CCBA


This is the first in a two part series on how the drought may impact the California craft brewing industry from the Executive Director of the California Craft Brewers Association, Tom McCormick.

In summer 2014, after three years of below average precipitation here in the Golden State, very few craft breweries felt the impact of the drought. While some breweries had to adapt to a change in water chemistry after water agencies shifted to new sources of water, very few CCBA brewery members had mandatory restrictions placed on their water consumption.

This year, after yet another dry winter season, California’s breweries face a different situation.

In April 2015, Governor Jerry Brown issued an unprecedented executive order mandating that urban water use be cut by 25 percent across the state. The Department of Water Resources (DWR) developed a framework to implement this mandate, including imposing mandatory cutbacks on all urban water districts ranging from 6 percent to 36 percent per district.

The specific cutback for each district is based on how much water that district used per person in 2013. Districts with a high per capita water use in 2013 were given a larger cutback (up to 36 percent) compared to the districts with low per capita use. The DWR left it to individual water agencies to figure out how to meet the cutback requirements, which means water agencies have the choice of issuing mandatory restrictions, controlling consumption by raising rates, or applying other methods to implement the cutbacks. Water agencies also have the ability to impose different restrictions on different types of water users (industry, recreational, residential, etc.).

This means that California’s craft breweries will have an opportunity to work with their local water agencies to discuss the restrictions and work together to help support our state through this ongoing drought. CCBA members will continue to implement innovative and effective ways to work with their local water agencies to use water more efficiently.

While water is one of beer’s primary ingredients, actual water use by craft breweries in California ranges dramatically depending on size and other factors. The current statewide average is unknown, but spans from 3.5 to 6 gallons of water for every gallon of beer produced. Most water used in the production of beer is for cleaning and sanitation. The other ingredients used in the production of beer, including hops and barley, are imported from other states. This use of out-of-state ingredients reduces the amount of agricultural pressure the craft brewing process has on California’s water problem.

Overall, the industry is not a big water user in the state. According to the author of a recent Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) report, Dr. Jeffrey Mount, the craft beer industry has “little to no impact on California’s drought.”

For the past two decades, our members have consistently sought out and invested in new ways to reduce the amount of water used in the beer brewing process and are leading the state in adopting water conservation technology. A few recent examples include:

  • Using the latest technology, Ballast Point (San Diego) has reduced its water use by more than 24 percent.
  • Stone Brewing Company (San Diego) recycles more than 62 percent of its water daily by reducing the need for fresh water in its brewing and production process.
  • Since 2007, Sierra Nevada (Chico) has reduced water consumption per barrel of beer produced by 25 percent.
  • Anderson Valley Brewing (Booneville) has been awarded the California Waste Reduction Awards Program (WRAP) multiple times and has its own waste water treatment plant. The brewery uses all its wastewater to irrigate the surrounding 28 acres of brewery grounds.
  • Bear Republic Brewing (Cloverdale) is seeking permits to install a Membrane Bioreactor (MBR) which will allow for a minimum of 50% water reuse at the brewery resulting in an estimated 8.7 million gallon savings in water use.

CCBA’s brewery members have long cared about California’s natural resources and the industry has been a leader in sustainability, including water conservation and water re-use for many years prior to California’s current water crisis. CCBA brewery members remain committed to developing and implementing the most current technologies in water conservation and re-use and are passionate about being good stewards of our Golden State.