America's finest city is becoming known for some of America's finest beer, and now the San Diego City Council is stepping on board to help grow that reputation.
On Tuesday, the council signed off on zoning changes Tuesday that would allow craft brewers to expand their businesses.
There are now 66 breweries in San Diego County with 39 more pending, according to the local beer industry website WestCoaster.
One recent national study put the economic impact of San Diego's craft breweries at about $300 million a year – which is more impact than Comic-Con.
And as that revenue has grown, now so has the city's interest.
Jack White with Ballast Point Brewing Company said the city didn't always know what to make of breweries.
"You know 15 years ago, they just weren't familiar with what we were trying to do ultimately what we wanted to do,” he said. “It was much smaller as far as revenue for the city."
Yesterday’s vote could allow breweries to expand tasting rooms, and even open restaurants.
"This does make common sense to me. It's something we do have an advantage here in San Diego, and we should encourage,” said White.
The council voted unanimously on Tuesday, but not before one commenter at the meeting warned the city about rushing to grow this industry too quickly.
“They have great potential for activities and problems related to drinking behavior on and around their premise,” she said. “It's critical that those risks should not be dismissed out of hand."
White said that his brewery is well aware of the laws in place and they will continue to obey them.
In the meantime, Ballast Point is planning to expand at their current location, and plans are in the works for a new restaurant in Little Italy, and he’s happy the city is helping out.
“It's exciting to see them become educated, helpful, and eager to see us succeed,” White said.
The new guidelines for local breweries who want to expand was approved by the council, but it still needs to be put before both the Coastal Commission and airport authority before the changes go into effect.