Recognized as the Craft Beer of America, San Diego County is home to 130 craft breweries producing over 1 million barrels of beer during 2017. San Diego provides a diverse selection of brewery styles and sensations across the country and has brought back 45 medals from the Great American Beer Festival since 2014. The craft beer industry supports 6,275 jobs in San Diego County and produced an economic impact of $1.1 billion in 2017. South of the border, Baja California’s brewing scene comprises more than 80 craft breweries and continues to grow, strategically positioning as a complement of the Baja Med culinary experience. This opened the door to a new kind of partnership for CaliBaja, allowing breweries such as SouthNorte to open the first independent American brewery with a tasting room and full-time brewing operations in Mexico.
The Cross Border Business Forum featured industry experts joined by Diana Puetz, Director of Public Affairs for the San Diego Padres, who served as moderator for the panel:
- Brandon Richards | CEO, South Norte Brewery, San Diego
- JJ Feregrino | Founding Director, Baja Brewmasters & Co-Founder, Cerveceria Colibre, Tecate
- Amy Spackman | San Diego Chapter Leader, Pink Boots Society
- Alfredo Rodriguez | Co-Founder, Cerveceria Icono, Mexicali
- Alan Celis | Co-Founder, Cerveceria Doble C, Ensenada
Panelists shared best practices and lessons learned from the challenges they each faced as entrepreneurs, from permits and licensing to dealing with distribution and setting a competitive price point where commercial beer brands are in advantage. They also shared stories of cross-border collaboration, highlighting the importance of connecting cultures across our region and coexisting in a binational tourism market.
In addition, the Pink Boots Society and SouthNorte recognized the need to encourage, promote, and empower women in the craft beer industry and shared information about how they each have programs that provide assistance to women to venture into the industry and succeed. The forum was broadcasted via the Chamber’s Facebook page and is available here.
Please save the date for the upcoming Cross Border Business Forum will take place on Wednesday, October 30th from 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. in Tijuana.