It's beer week in San Diego. And yes, this is a real thing. In fact, there will be about 250 events around the county to celebrate San Diego's first ever beer week.
Hops and barley, it turns out, are big business here. President of the San Diego Brewer's Guild, Colby Chandler, says according to the beer institute, San Diego County did close to a half billion dollars in beer sales last year ($446,401,495.00 to be exact). Last month, Men's Journal ranked San Diego as the best beer town in the country.
Chandler says San Diego's 33 breweries seem to be immune from the recession.
"All the breweries in town, I think, are at capacity, and can't make enough beer to sell," he says. "When times are good, people drink. When times are bad, people drink more."
He says those breweries are gaining a reputation as some of the best craft beer makers in the country with their own distinct style. The IPA, or India Pale Ale, style has put San Diego on the map. Those hop-heavy beers are even called San Diego Style IPA's in other parts of the country. One drawback is over the past few years, a hops shortage has increased costs for brewers everywhere.
Nonetheless, Chandler says, people are actually traveling here to tour the breweries and taste the beers.
"We're becoming a beer tourism destination," says Chandler.
Mike Sangiorgi timed his trip from Guam to coincide with this week's festivities.
"San Diego is one of the top rated places to go for beers nowadays," he says.
The events for San Diego Beer Week are scheduled from the South Bay to North County through November 15.