The biggest beer news of 2023: 1-5

See which local brewing-industry stories resonated most with San Diego Beer News readers

In so many ways, 2023 was a big year for the San Diego brewing industry. As we prepare for 2024, we are taking a moment to look back, combing through our daily reporting from the past 365 days to see which stories garnered the greatest interest from you, our valued readers. In doing so, we are omitting sure-fire items like winners from brewing competitions such as the Great American Beer Festival and World Beer Cup, neighborhood brewery guides, beer-centric travel articles and features such as Portrait of a Brewer, Rear View Beer, What’s Tapping and Beer of the Week. What’s left are the news stories that generated the most traffic on our site and sentiment from the local beer community.

5. One more week for Wild Barrel Brewing

Monday, December 4

Wild Barrel Brewing interior (Hauck Architecture)
Photo: Hauck Architecture

After a year-and-a-half of operating in the red, the owners of San Marcos’ Wild Barrel Brewing announced that, staring down the barrel of increased rent and unable to find a workable business model in the current economy, they had made the difficult decision to stop the bleeding and close the six-year-old concern. The news was met by an outpouring of emotion from fans who enjoyed the brewery’s fruited Berliner weisses, IPAs and barrel-aged creations, as well as many members of the beer industry, including veterans from Stone Brewing who worked with co-founder Bill Sysak and opening Head Brewer Bill Sobieski during their time there.

4. Craft Coast acquires North County brewery

Thursday, December 7

Rip Current Brewing in San Marcos

The bittersweet news of Oceanside concern Craft Coast Beer & Tacos taking over the home of 11-year-old San Marcos business Rip Current Brewing was met with elation from fans of the former and sadness from devotees of the latter. In announcing it had sold its flagship location, Rip Current disclosed its North Park tasting room would close by year’s end to make room for a new undisclosed tenant. Meanwhile, Craft Coast shared plans to add a catering kitchen and in-house Mexican food offerings at its new digs, which will serve as the company’s headquarters where it will produce beer for distribution and future satellite locations.

3. Karl Strauss soft-opens The Outpost

Friday, October 20

Karl Strauss The Outpost

North County fans of the San Diego County’s longest continually operating post-Prohibition brewing company had been waiting for/four years for Karl Strauss Brewing to debut its new concept, “The Outpost”, on the two-acre lot it had secured just off State Route 78’s Las Posas Road exit in San Marcos. When news of its silent soft-opening dropped, readers shared their excitement about the all-outdoor venue with its array of seating options, games, activities and a company-branded food truck dealing out snackable SoCal fare, making the company’s fifth San Diego County public venue (and ninth overall) an instant draw.

2. Coronado Brewing exiting IB

Thursday, September 7

Coronado Brewing IB

Over the past several years, numerous local breweries have opened tasting rooms and restaurants in Imperial Beach, yet many have questioned if the citizens of San Diego County’s southwestern-most municipality have much of an affinity for craft beer. Following the sudden news that the first brewing company to take a chance on IB, Coronado Brewing, was closing its doors after nearly a decade on Seacoast Drive, locals reacted with great passion, sharing our article on the topic along with memories of fun times spent at the soon-to-shutter bar and restaurant along with their sadness that it would no longer be part of the community.

1. The Lost Abbey exiting its longtime home

Wednesday, March 3

The Lost Abbey stout

Though managing partner Tomme Arthur had openly shared that The Lost Abbey – one of San Diego’s most distinguished, award-winning brewing interests – was facing financial challenges and exploring options to “grow down”, craft-beer fans were still floored when news broke that the business would be moving out of the only production facility it had ever known and ceding the beers of sub-brands Port Brewing and The Hop Concept to sister-organization Pizza Port. The development sent shockwaves across – and beyond – San Diego County and sent Arthur scrambling in search of a new manufacturing site for his 17-year-old company.

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