What a day in La Jolla and San Diego last Friday! First I went to the California Beer and Beverage Distributors Association meeting. There I saw a panel moderated by consultant Bump Williams that featured some great info on the wild proliferation of SKUs (stock keeping units) in California foodstores. Over 350 new beer SKUs have been introduced there this year alone, according to IRI data. About half are craft. The beer business is getting more and more complex. Anheuser Busch InBev president North America Luiz Edmond made that point about increased complexity in a speech later that morning and also pointed to California as a trendsetting state. We featured both Bump and Luiz in this recent issue of our INSIGHTS Express.
After the meeting, I visited several notable craft brewers on the San Diego scene: local legend Tomme Arthur at the Lost Abbey/Port Brewing Co, up-and-comers Doug Constantiner and Travis Smith at Societe and the longtime leader of the San Diego scene, Stone founder Greg Koch at the World Bistro Liberty Station. That thriving establishment seats about 800 and it was full, one of the latest examples of the rapid evolution of the San Diego craft brewing scene. Much more of our info/impressions on the craft beer business in San Diego in the next issue of Craft Brew News.