About the Brewchive®

The Brewchive® is to be a comprehensive archive of San Diego county's brewing activity from personal and business aspects starting with the 1980s. The archives hold evidence in a wide variety of forms from individuals, breweries, organizations, and affiliated businesses involved primarily with beer, but also cider, mead, kombucha and distilled spirits.

The initial idea for an archive to record and preserve San Diego brewing activity was at the suggestion of Char Booth, Associate Dean of the CSUSM Library and home brewer, in 2016.

University Library Dean, Jennifer Fabbi, and Special Collections & History Librarian, Judith Downie (see note), began to explore the beer archive concept. While there are beverage and hops industry archives scattered across the United States, there are no local archives actively collecting for research.

The research on historical sources revealed that relatively little has been saved from pre-Prohibition era San Diego brewing, making it difficult to determine the connections between San Diego’s early and current brewing successes. With the transient nature of electronic communication and social media, as well as the rapid growth of the San Diego brewing industry, the history we are seeing made could be lost to future research.

The need for such a resource was strengthened by a program proposal at the university to develop a multi-disciplinary EngiBeering™ certificate program. An archive of San Diego brewing industry practice supports research by business majors (marketing and business planning), science majors (recipe development and industry technology), history students (archival research experience and exhibits), as well as scholars and the public.

Work was launched in 2016 with a small advisory group including Sheldon Kaplan, documentary filmmaker (Suds County, USA), Tomme Arthur (founder/owner of Port Brewing and Lost Abbey), Chris Cochran (formerly of Stone Brewing), and Kiersten Winant (Karl Strauss).

Our logo was designed by Kate Crocker, CSUSM Library Outreach Communications Specialist. Other images and our YouTube launch video created by Harley Pan, CSUSM Multimedia Production Specialist.

Greg Lorton, homebrewer and past-President of QUAFF, has played an instrumental role in connecting us with home and professional brewers.

Archives are meant to be active learning and research resources. We welcome your participation in collecting history as it is made.

Please see the Contribute page for more information about how you can be part of documenting San Diego craft brew history, or contact us.

--August 2017, updated February 2024

Note: Judith Downie has retired but continues her work for the university curating the Brewchive(r). She can be reached at jdownie@csusm.edu.


AMERICAN LIBRARY ASSOCIATION'S JOHN COTTON DANA PUBLIC RELATION AWARD 2018 (one of eight awards to libraries for community outreach)