Beer Pioneers Chris Cramer & Matt Rattner

karl strauss original kegs

Crafting the San Diego scene since ’89

Back in the mid-1980s, San Diego was void of the thriving beer scene it has today. In fact, the city had not seen fresh beer since Prohibition, and the term “craft beer” didn’t exist. But that wasn’t going to stop Chris Cramer and Matt Rattner; two young entrepreneurs eager to change the status quo. Inspired by a brewpub Chris came upon while traveling through Australia, the pair had a dream: bring local, handcrafted beer back to San Diego.

Karl Strauss The Man Starting up a microbrewery in a city with no local beer was easier said than done, and the two needed help. Luckily, Chris’ cousin happened to be Karl Strauss. Karl was an award-winning master brewer who was trained at Weihenstephan, the world’s top brewing school in Munich, Germany. Karl implemented best-in-industry quality control practices right away. To this day these high standards can be found not only at Karl Strauss Brewing Company, but all across our industry. It was Karl’s example that helped pave the way.

In addition to teaching Chris and Matt about the craft, Karl also encouraged them to enjoy beer as part of a life well-lived. That is part of the reason San Diego was the ideal place for them to start a new industry. The city was already known for its laid back approach, appreciation for enjoying the every day, and emphasis on quality of life. Karl’s own personal philosophies echoed these feelings.

It was on February 2, 1989 that Karl Strauss Brewing Company officially opened its doors in downtown San Diego and kicked off the city’s craft beer industry. Happily, as Karl Strauss Brewing Company grew, so did the industry as a whole. San Diego quickly became home to more breweries, many of whom got their start with Karl Strauss. Brewers and beer enthusiasts alike came to Karl Strauss, learned about quality and consistency from the best, and went off to create their own breweries. To this day, we take great pride in having influenced many of the brewers that now make up the DNA of our local brewing community.

chris and matt 2013 These days at Karl Strauss Brewing Company, our San Diego roots are stronger than ever. For us, being in business is about more than the money – it’s about crafting a work-life balance for our employees and being part of our local community. It is our pleasure to continue to expose fans to beers they have never tried before by brewing a wide range of styles and experimenting with different ingredients. 25 years after opening our doors, we are proud of our past and look eagerly to our future. Cheers to you, our fans. Cheers to Karl. And cheers to San Diego.

Karl Strauss Brewing Company. Crafting the San Diego scene since ’89.