He’s Passionate About His Business

| June 1, 2012 | 0 Comments

Chris Cramer Shares 23 Years Brewing Beer

It’s always a pleasure to spend one-on-one time with Chris Cramer who resides in Point Loma. Cramer and I are friends, so it is especially enjoyable to sit down over a glass of beer to discuss his growing business.

Cramer, who is CEO of Karl Strauss Brewing Company, speaks highly of his partner Matt Rattner, president, and Uncle Karl Strauss, the namesake of the operation, which started in 1989 here in San Diego. He’s also proud of the upward of 500 people who are now a part of the operation.

I was reminded that Cramer, Rattner and Strauss were forging new territory 23 years ago. “As a pioneer in the craft beer industry in Southern, California, we experienced the challenges

Chris Cramer CEO of Karl Strauss.

and hurdles that came with being the first,” offered Kramer during a recent interview at his offices in Pacific Beach.

Today, Cramer says his brewing company is expanding to meet the demands of a “thirsty” market. “For several years we’ve been attempting to expand outside of Southern California, however, our consumers and their desire for more beer has kept that from happening,” offered Cramer.

I shared with Cramer that the “thirst” might be because of the selection, variety and quality of the beer they brew. He definitely agrees that from day one they have made it their commitment to being the best in the industry. And proving this focus, Karl Strauss Brewing Company has established quality standards that have earned them local, national and international recognition.

Recently, Karl Strauss competed in the ninth bi-annual World Beer Cup®. The competition is highly regarded and considered the largest international gathering of beers with more than 3,921 entries from 799 breweries across 54 countries and 45 U.S. states. Karl Strauss took home a gold medal for its Red Trolley Ale and a silver medal for its Two Tortugas Belgian Quad.

Red Trolley Ale is one of only seven beers in the world out of more than 7,250 beers entered into competition in the last two World Beer Cups to have won a gold medal in each. This helps explain why Red Trolley sales have increased by 36 percent since its first big win in 2010.

I also asked about increasing the “square footage” of his property. Jokingly, Cramer asked if I was referring to his physique. No, I said. I am referring to buildings, restaurants and distribution centers.

To keep up with double-digit sales growth in Southern California and new territory demand, Karl Strauss is adding brewing capacity as well as adding new property to its growth. Their brewery on Santa Fe Drive in Pacific Beach will be under construction starting the summer of 2012. The major renovation will allow Karl Strauss to offer public tours, tastings, hosted events and an outdoor beer garden.

The company’s plan for growth includes a new brewery restaurant in San Diego’s 4S Ranch neighborhood, which moves Karl Strauss to 364 brewery restaurants already operating in California. With the expanded distribution, brewery project, and new brewery restaurant in place, Karl Strauwss is poised to share its award-winning beers with craft beer fans across the Golden State.

Cramer, who is even more passionate about the business today as he was 23 years ago, says it is important to celebrate the successes in life and business. He is good friends with many of the brewery owners who’ve started business in San Diego. That’s because many of them are ex-employees of Karl Strauss. He said it’s fun to share the experiences and their overall successes.

During the recent World Beer Cup and Great American Beer Festival held in San Diego, 211 judges from 27 countries conducted blind-tastings over three days to determine the world-class examples of 95 different style categories. Overall, San Diego brewers took home medals in 16 of the 95 categories, including five gold awards, three silvers, and eight bronzes.

According to Cramer, San Diego has become a Mecca for great beer breweries and establishes the county as a great beer destination. There’s not a shortage of beer in San Diego County. It’s time to celebrate. Cheers!

In 2011, Karl Strauss brewed 40,000 barrels and ranked #44 on the list of the country’s 2,000 top craft breweries. To learn more about Karl Strauss Brewing Company, visit www.karlstrauss.com.

Chris Cramer (left) with Patty Ducey-Brooks (right)

Category: Local News

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