Love might not be a strong enough word to describe the bond between San Diego and the countless breweries up and down the county.
In 2018, the craft beer industry contributed more than a billion – yes, billion with a b – dollars to the San Diego economy. And that’s why San Diego leaders are extending a hand to help the industry along as it continues to swallow the harsh economic realities presented by the coronavirus pandemic.
Can you count the times a bartender at a brewery poured you a glass whether on a night out, during a celebration, or because you just flat out needed a beer?
San Diego City Councilmember Chris Cate and County Supervisor Jim Desmond want to make sure you favorite pour house survives this tepid time, so they created the Breweries Experiencing Economic Roadblocks (BEER) Fund so lovers of suds can return the favor.
Money raised by the BEER Fund will be doled out by the San Diego Brewers Guild to help breweries and their employees.
According to the city of San Diego, the industry $1,167,656,785 total economic impact on the San Diego economy, and a 2017 study found the industry creates more than 6,000 jobs and more $171 million in combined labor. It goes hand in hand with the tourism and hospitality industry that stabilizes much of the regions economy, and it, like many industries, is doing its best to stay afloat.
The brewers guild says more than 150 independent breweries call San Diego County home, but recent amendments to the county Public Health Order have severely restricted their means of revenue -- bars that don't serve food have been closed completely, and breweries that don't serve food are limited to take-out style sales and outside food truck services. Bars and breweries that do serve food are limited to outside dining and takeout services.
“Complete turnaround is a good way to describe that. We are taking it week by week right now,” Societe Brewing’s Jake Collins said. “It’s been difficult because we had to furlough some folks for a short period of time. Right now everyone is back and we’ve even hired some new folks so we hope to continue doing that.”
Collins said Societe, and surely the rest of the industry, is thankful for what Cate and Desmond have started.
The BEER Fund GoFundMe page for now has a goal of $10,000. In the two days it’s been accepting donations, the fund is 25% of the way to its goal.