The San Diego Festival of Beer

22nd annual San Diego Festival of Beer

“Drink beer, cure cancer,” says the cheerful crowd, and that’s exactly what the San Diego Festival of Beer is all about. People having a good time, for a good cause.


What is the San Diego Festival of Beer?

The San Diego Beer Festival is not just an event for beer enthusiasts, it’s a fundraiser produced by volunteers, with all proceeds benefiting local charities. The event is also a place for breweries to promote their newest craft blends!


Rich in History

The festival has a colorful past. The SDFoB was first held in 1994, and was funded by a national organization, whose volunteers planned the event. The initial event saw 700 participants, and 200 volunteers, and was a great success.

After that first year, the national organization stepped down, and the volunteers formed and founded the San Diego Professionals Against Cancer (SDPAC). During the early years, the festival was held on the Embarcadero North.

In the beginning, the event was held on a Saturday, but it was moved to a Friday night to entice the working downtown crowd to stay, and have a beer. The festival is now held on the Broadway Pier, which has a limited capacity. Throughout the night, they still anticipate over 2,500 attendees.


Overcoming Obstacles

The move from downtown has been one of SDFoB’s biggest challenges. They saw their largest crowds then, and raised the most funds those years. That being said, they were also challenged by the lack of beer culture in the 90’s and early 2000.

San Diego hasn’t always been the beer mecca it is known as today. Most people drank mass produced beers, until Sierra Nevada, Sam Adams, and local brewery Karl Strauss, came on the scene.

In 2011, there was a massive blackout that left the whole region in the dark, and the festival was in jeopardy. Volunteers wondered if anyone would show up, as questions like “will there be ice?” and “how do we keep this cold?” popped up. In the end, the turnout was terrific, and the event went off without a hitch.

Today’s challenge is the amount of festivals popping up, and over promotion on social media. There is only one true San Diego Festival of Beer, but there are many imitations.


Giving Back

The purpose of the San Diego Festival of Beer is to celebrate life and have fun at the same time. Although SDPAC receives requests for funding, they also do their own research. Some of their greatest accomplishments so far, have been their valued relationship with Rady’s Children’s Hospital.

When other funders offer matching opportunities, it makes all the difference in the world. Such as in 2012 when Ledcor Construction matched their $100,000, for a total of $200,000. To this date, the San Diego Festival of Beer has raised close to $700,000 for local cancer charities.


This Year’s Event

You don’t want to miss this year’s event. 2016 marks the 22nd year of the festival, and remains 100% volunteer produced, with 100% of proceeds going to charity. This year’s fiesta offers unlimited 2 oz. beer samples, a variety of delicious food trucks, live music, and more!

The theme of 2016 is “Vote for Beer,” and is a play on the crazy politics going on in the country. Participants are encouraged to don their Uncle Sam hats, along with some good ole’ red, white, and blue. This year also features great music, and a brand new brewery.

The festival is being held on the Broadway Pier

Friday, September 23, 2016

From 6-10 p.m.

The San Diego Festival of Beer is unlike any other. Not only is it a taste of San Diego history and way to sample excellent beer, it supports a good cause…and there’s no better way to enjoy a beer, than to cheers to that!  

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