D.L. Coronado won the Champion Mid-sized Brewery award at the World Beer Cup. What does the award mean to the brewery?
R.C. It means that we hold ourselves and our beers to even higher standards. Our growth has escalated, so we have embarked on a multi-million dollar expansion to keep up with standards and capacity. We added four new 240-barrel tanks, more silos and purchased an additional building to create a larger production facility.
D.L. What will the expansion mean for the future of Coronado? Will we see any additions to your lineup in 2016?
R.C. The most exciting aspect, aside from increased capacity, will be the introduction of cans and the launch of a new, year-round beer in January called Stingray IPA. This is the first time we have expanded our year-round portfolio since 2012 and we’re stoked about the beer. We’ve released small batches in California to stellar reviews and sales. We are also adding a pale ale called Easy Up to our new can lineup in April. And we will be introducing two new seasonal beers in 2016 – Berry the
Hatchet in May and Pierless Imperial Brown Ale in November.
D.L. Not only did Coronado take home the highly coveted award for Champion Mid-sized Brewery, you also received the Champion Brewmaster award. That’s a HUGE accomplishment! How are you going to top that?
R.C. Our brewers are always looking for ways to improve on our beers. We will continue innovating new beers like our Stingray IPA.
D.L. How would you describe your head Brewmaster, Ryan Brooks? What are his best attributes?
R.C. He’s incredibly passionate about creating the finest beers for Coronado Brewing Co. and he’s very involved in the development of our team. He trains the palates of our sales and marketing team and educates them on all of our beers. Building partnerships both in the U.S. and internationally is a huge part of his job as well. Ryan has been instrumental in the craft beer movement in Mexico, helping homebrewers in Tijuana and judging brewing competitions throughout the country.
D.L. Why did you choose to sell your beers in Philadelphia?
R.C. The Philly area was our first East Coast market. We launched there a decade ago because of its vibrant craft beer scene. Philly’s pioneering bars and craft beer drinkers are very astute. They continue to set the bar for the craft beer scene, globally.
D.L. When in Philadelphia, which beers do you enjoy that you can’t get in California?
R.C. Whenever I travel, I always make my first beer a local. When landing in Philly, I usually have a Yuengling to get things started.
D.L. In addition to adding cans to your lineup, you recently redesigned your logo and packaging. What prompted the new look?
R.C. As we have grown, we recognize that we need a more focused and consistent brand foundation. The packaging design for the launch of our new cans offered a great opportunity to dive deeper into our coastal story.
D.L. What does your new tagline, “Stay Coastal” mean?
R.C. Live it! Embrace the relaxed state of mind that resonates with both San Diego locals and fans worldwide.
D.L. Coronado offers a core series of beers, a Brewer’s Series, Crown series and Coronado Collection. What differentiates each series?
R.C. The beers in the Brewer’s Series are seasonal, innovative beers available in draught only in limited quantities. They are designed for tap takeovers and small batch-style events. The Crown Series is dedicated to seasonal bottles and draught styles. Our Coronado Collection is made up of smaller batch, barrel-aged beers. We carefully select bourbon and brandy barrels to complement the beers and age them appropriately. These beers are even better after being cellared for a few years.
D.L. Your fall seasonal Punk’In Drublic is named for the California-based punk band NOFX’s most successful album. Has the band reacted to the beer?
R.C. A few of our brewers who are big fans of the band came up with the name. NOFX tweeted us saying that a few of the members drink the beer, but we have yet to meet them in person. We’d welcome tipping pints with them in the future.
D.L. You have been involved in several collaborations over the years. Do you have plans for more in the near future?
R.C. Absolutely! We love working with our “brothers in beer”. We learn so much from each other with every collaboration. Our most recent collaboration with Bear Republic (great folks), comes out in February. It’s a rye IPA called MerBear. I would say we will continue to do a few collaborations per year.
D.L. The drought in California has forced several CA-based breweries to get creative. How has the water shortage affected your brewery and what have you done to deal with the problem?
R.C. Being that we live in a coastal desert, we have always been conscience of, and conservative with, our water use. Our water use per barrel is one of the lowest in the industry and we continue to innovate and conserve. We recently invested in equipment to help with our cleaning systems and we reuse as much water as possible.
D.L. Coronado supports hundreds of charitable events through community partnerships and a donations program. Can you explain a little about both?
R.C. For years, we weren’t able to contribute to charities the way we can today. Giving back is one of the most gratifying aspects of becoming a successful business. We are humbled to assist whenever possible. This year we expanded on a few programs during Fleet Week since the military is such a big part of Coronado Island and San Diego. We brewed a beer and sold it in our brewpubs from Memorial Day through Labor Day and donated a portion of the proceeds to military families in the area. Another partnership we formed this year was with Petco since their headquarters are also in San Diego. We developed Surf Dog Pale Ale to raise money for the Humane Society.
D.L. A little birdy told us that you have many talents… You were a model in Europe before opening the brewery and you are the Captain of the company’s boat, SeaKing Sirens. Knowing these things about you begs the question, what do you think you’d be doing if you never opened the brewery?
R.C. Modeling Depends undergarments.
D.L. What is one beer you could not live without?
R.C. Orange Avenue Wit.
D.L. 2016 marks 20 years for Coronado Brewing Co.! What will you do to celebrate the milestone?
R.C. I’ll probably dance on the bar again.