An interesting article published by freelance writer Tara Nurin
As a TV reporter in the 90s and ‘00s, I covered dozens of planning board meetings. Most, thankfully, were interesting, pitting deep-pocketed developers against environmentalists or NIMBYs and raising pertinent questions over land-use planning and the future of consumerism and labor. I don’t remember most of them. The ones I do recall involved Walmart, Home Depot or one of many interchangeable big-box stores.
You know the drill. Walmart attorneys would come to town seeking construction permits or variants or whatever they needed to clobber a community with their client’s cheap, China-made goods, and local residents, retailers and market-regulation advocates would warn, alto voce, about the apocalyptic effects. No matter how many opponents spoke and no matter how the planning board voted, that store got built. Every single time.
And that’s what will almost definitely happen in San Diego, where, despite opposition from the local craft brewers’ guild, a big-box store of the beer world is in the process of setting up shop.
“We have over 25 years of heritage here going back to Karl Strauss, Pizza Port, Stone,” says Kevin Hopkins, president emeritus of the guild, naming some of the city’s most prominent craft breweries. “Now we have a juggernaut come in that will provide an obstacle to all of us.”
That juggernaut is Anheuser-Busch InBev (ABI), the Belgium-based global brewing powerhouse that holds a 46% market share of the nation’s beer. In 2014, ABI bought a beloved brewery from Bend, OR, called 10 Barrel, which is opening brewpubs in several western cities, including San Diego. Though the project, slated for the underdeveloped East Village neighborhood next to the new Padres baseball stadium, meets all of the city’s zoning requirements and has received its requisite neighborhood use permit, the guild is hoping sympathetic city council members will deny its construction permits it on principle alone. To help their cause, they’re waging a media campaign and talking to their elected officials.