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In The Can: Ballast Point Brewing & Spirits Interview – San Diego, CA

Founded in 1996, Ballast Point Brewing & Spirits has grown to became an award winning brewery.

50 Campfires caught up with Chief Commercial Officer Earl Kight to chat about their nautical themed brews and what set them apart.

Ballast Point Long Beach Tasting Room and Kitchen
Ballast Point Long Beach Tasting Room and Kitchen

The crew of the Ballast Point Long Beach, CA Tasting Room and Kitchen
The crew of the Ballast Point Long Beach, CA Tasting Room and Kitchen

The crew of Ballast Point Brewing & Spirits at their quarterly meeting

The Ballast Point Brewing Team picking up 1 of 2 awards at the World Beer Cup...Silver for Piper Down and Bronze for Pumpkin Down
The Ballast Point Brewing Team picking up 1 of 2 awards at the World Beer Cup…Silver for Piper Down and Bronze for Pumpkin Down

50CF: So tell me a little bit about your brewery, the types of beers that you brew, and what you feel makes your brewery unique.

Paul Elder’s art at the Ballast Point Scripps Ranch tasting room and is drawn with chalk

Paul Elder's artwork can be found on the Ballast Point labels.
Paul Elder’s artwork inspires brews and can be found on the labels.

BP: So here’s the deal, the brewery was founded in 1996 in the back of a home brew shop in San Diego, Home Brew Mart – which is a business we still have. We grew from a 20-barrel brew house in 1996, probably making a couple thousand barrels, to now operating four breweries in San Diego, with our largest brew house being a 150-barrel brew house brewing around the clock. We really don’t have an classically trained brew masters. Pretty much all of our talent is from local home brewers that have come on and have a passion for making beer that they like to drink and that’s kind of our motto – we make beer that we like to drink. One of the unique things about us is that we don’t just make IPAs, we brew the gambit. We’re probably brewing 70 different styles of beers now. We package a lot of beer, a lot of different styles. We package everything from a hellish-style lager which as around 5% abv all the way up to double IPAs, imperial porters, imperial stouts, award-winning IPAs like Sculpin, english-style IPAs like Big Eye IPA, and we have a theme thats a nautical theme, so the majority of our beers are named after sport fish in San Diego that you can catch off the coast. We’ve had the same artist since 1996 and when we started running out of fish we went over to skeletons because he couldn’t draw people. He attempted, but nothing was in proportion. So that’s kind of our deal…we won best small brewery in the world in 2010 at the World Beer Cup and that kind of put us on the map.  

Ballast Point has over 70 different styles of beer
Ballast Point has over 70 different styles of beer

50CF: What’s your most popular or Flagship beer and what makes it great?

Ballast Point Brewing
Sculpin is a popular west coast-style Pale Ale

Sculpin...rolling off the line....
Sculpin…rolling off the line….

BP: Right now its Sculpin IPA. Its a west coast-style IPA. I’m not sure what makes it great, all I know is we love it and its pretty hop-forward. Its a beer that for us, internally, kind of sets the standard of what we expected a west coast IPA to taste like.


50CF: At 50 Campfires we like meeting people who share our passion for the outdoors. Tell us a little bit about the folks involved with your brewery and what they enjoy doing outdoors.

A good trout stream…a fly rod…a Grunion…makes for a great day

The Ballast Point crew enjoy disc golfing, camping, fishing, and surfing

BP: Oh man, you know its funny. There’s several beer festivals in the state of California that involve camping and our folks fight over the ability to get the tickets to go. It’s southern California for pete’s sake. We have avid disc golfers. Our folks camp, our folks fish, our folks surf. They boat, they dive. I mean people are outside all the time.

The crew of Ballast Point Brewing & Spirits enjoy being outdoors.

50CF: Is your beer available in cans?

BP: Yes it is. We were the first ones to can in San Diego.

50CF: Very cool. Where would our readers and fans be able to find your beer around the country? Everywhere or just specific spots?

BP: We’re in like 37 states right now. We’re in the great state of Minnesota. Any major grocery store chain is going to have us, any specialty liquor store or craft beer store is gonna have us. We can probably 6 or 7 different styles of beer. We’re also a distillery, which also makes us unique, and we actually make a canned cocktail.

Ballast Point’s new distributor in Kansas has this baby cruising the streets of Lawrence

50CF: Really!?

BP: Yes. We make a Bloody Mary. We make a gin and tonic that will knock your socks off. We do a Rum and Cola and we do a Rum and Ginger that is a little tingle to the nostrils.

50CF: Oh yeah, we call those Dark and Stormies here.

BP: Yeah there you go. It’ll give you a nice little treat. If you go on our Facebook page we get a lot of pictures sent from fans of our cans all over the place. The top of Mount Whitney, Lake Tahoe, some place in Montana where someone is backpacking. So what we thought was just going to be cool because we were going to be the first one with cans, turned into this whole little cult thing of people sending us pictures without us asking for them.

50CF: I love that.

For more information about Ballast Point Brewing & Spirits visit their web page at http://www.ballastpoint.com or their Facebook page.

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