The biggest beer news of 2023: 16-20

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.

20. 13 Point Brewing to close

Thursday, May 25

13 Point Brewing

After four years operating as Lemon Grove’s first and only local brewery, the owner of 13 Point Brewing made the difficult decision to close the business. In doing so, he cited the challenges of having a life-altering pandemic raging over most of his brewery’s lifespan, but he also mentioned what a joy it was to provide Lemon Grove residents with a taste of beer made in their own backyard…even if they weren’t quite ready for it. He also mentioned how nice it was to befriend regulars and make friendships that would last well after 13 Point closed its doors.

19. Sunny Grove Brewing settling in Santee

Tuesday, October 17

Sunny Grove Brewing owners

In 2022, Scott and Tessa Christian began construction of their beer business, Sunny Grove Brewing, in a Lemon Grove auto shop. Unfortunately, issues with the municipal government and SDG&E led them to abandon the project, but not the passion they had for it. The couple kept an eye out for more feasible project sites, and when nine-year-old Santee operation Pacific Islander Beer Co. closed over the summer, the Christians pounced on its 4,000-square-foot, patio-equipped facility, figuring moving into a space already permitted for brewing will help them avoid the red tape they faced in Lemon Grove.

18. Catching up on closures

Tuesday, May 16

Rincon Reservation Road Brewery can

When breweries are coming online their owners want to shout it from the rooftops, but when locations shutter, they are understandably quieter. In the spring, we took stock of multiple breweries and tasting rooms that had closed. In doing so, we examined the details of each, splitting them into different categories – temporary closures, individual-location closures and permanent closures. As it turned out, several of the businesses extracting from their locations were moving elsewhere and venues that had closed were on track to be taken over by other brewing companies.

17. Oceanside brewpub’s days numbered

Wednesday, May 31

Breakwater Brewpub in Oceanside

Oceanside’s first-ever brewpub, Breakwater Brewing, has been a mainstay on Coast Highway for 15 years, steadily winning awards while serving as a low-key spot for locals to hang out and watch sports with house beers in-hand. In May, its owners were informed that the building their business occupies is set to be razed to make room for a city redevelopment project, requiring Breakwater to vacate. The timeline for extraction was undefined, but the business’ days were numbered, prompting ownership to consolidate Breakwater’s operations to its second location, a shared brewery and tasting room at CoLab Public House in Vista.

16. Remembering Matt Courtright

Wednesday, October 18

Matt Courtright memorial brew day
A scene from the tenth-anniversary brew day for Matt’s Burning Rosids at Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens – Liberty Station

In 2013, Stone Brewing‘s Escondido facility was the site of a horrific tragedy when one of its brewers, Matt Courtright, died as the result of a freak workplace accident. A decade later, Courtright’s coworkers still fondly remember the passionate, generous artisan and humanitarian they called “Chief”. Earlier this year, members of Team Stone, past and present, came together to honor Courtright’s memory by rebrewing his recipe for an imperial cherrywood-smoked saison at Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens – Liberty Station. Several of them also shared touching memories of their fallen friend in one of our Craft Q&A pieces.

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