San Diego’s craft brewing industry has been hit hard in the economic fallout of the coronavirus pandemic. Now, some of the city’s most recognizable brands have come together – beer in hand – to help out their fellow brewers.
Stone Brewing announced Wednesday it had partnered with AleSmith, Modern Times, Mother Earth, Pizza Port, Thorn and Port Brewing for a collaboration brew dubbed the “San Diego Brewers United Double IPA.”
The canned collab will benefit the San Diego Brewers Guild as its 150+ members do their best to stay afloat during the second wave of pandemic-related shutdowns in the county, which includes brewery tasting rooms.
The San Diego Brewers Guild provides year-round support to local craft brewers but, when the coronavirus pandemic reached San Diego County, the guild was forced to cancel many of its revenue-generating events.
The guild, Stone said, froze its membership fees as a way of offering financial relief to its members during pandemic-related brewery closures.
More than four months into the pandemic in San Diego County, now it’s the guild’s turn to get a little relief. Stone Brewing said all proceeds from the new collaboration beer will directly benefit the SDBG.
The brewers described the United Double IPA as being dank, bold, and “hoppy as hell” – the perfect representation of San Diego’s standout beer community. The beer has notes of mango, peach juice, and grapefruit against some bitterness, dankness, and malt sweetness, Stone said.
The beer was released on July 13; it comes in a 4-pack of 16-ounce cans and will be sold for a limited time, only in California.
Stone said the seven breweries that collaborated on the beer all distribute their products via Stone Distributing Co. The company will distribute this United Double IPA, too, exclusively in the Golden State.
Kris Anacleto, president of the San Diego Brewers Guild, said the collaborators behind this double IPA are some of the city’s “most generous and prolific brewers.”
He called the sudsy project a “significant contribution to our local craft beer scene.”
By the way, Stone co-founder Greg Koch served as the first president of the San Diego Brewers Guild and his company has always had a strong connection to the organization.
A press release from Stone explained just how connected the city’s brewing industry remains, despite the challenges, setbacks, and distance.
“The craft beer community has become an ingrained piece of San Diego culture and as synonymous with the city as perfect weather and awe-inspiring sunsets,” the release read. “The community that grew up together will recover together – with mutual support, shared passion for beer, and a whole lot of hops.”
In addition to this beer, the SDBG is running an online fundraiser called the “BEER Fund,” or Breweries Experiencing Economic Roadblocks, to help craft breweries directly impacted by the pandemic. The guild said those funds will be distributed by the organization to local San Diego County breweries in need.
The San Diego Brewers Guild, founded in 1997, works to promote the independent industry that has made a huge name for itself in America’s Finest City. Its members often collaborate on beers, including during San Diego Beer Week.
In late May 2020, as breweries reopened their tasting rooms (before shutting down again earlier this month), Anacleto spoke with NBC 7 about how guild members were surviving the pandemic and how the resilience of the city’s craft brewing industry would eventually help breweries bounce back.
At the time, Anacleto said he and his fellow brewers were just figuring out how to keep going and "just made it work," no matter the changes.