Back in the mid-1980s, San Diego was void of the thriving beer scene it has today. In fact, the city hadn’t 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 college buddies eager to change the status quo. Inspired by a brewpub Chris came upon while backpacking through Australia, the pair had a dream: bring local, handcrafted beer back to San Diego.

With the help of Chris’s cousin, Master Brewer Karl M. Strauss, 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.

These days, the company continues to pioneer the independent brewing scene by crafting innovative beers across a wide range of styles, and in 2017, they brewed more than 140 different beers. Brands like Aurora Hoppyalis IPA, Queen of Tarts Dark Sour, and Wreck Alley Imperial Stout have helped launch the brewery into a new era; while beers such as Red Trolley Ale—one of the most award-winning beers in the world—stand as a testament to Karl’s rich brewing legacy.

Since 2009, Karl Strauss has won over 109 medals and counting, and at the 2016 Great American Beer Festival they received the prestigious honor of being named Mid-Size Brewing Company and Mid-Size Brewer of the Year. Nearly three decades after opening their doors, Karl Strauss Brewing Company is proud of their past and look eagerly to their future. Cheers!

Chris Cramer and Matt Rattner

Crafting the San Diego scene since ’89

Young chris cramer and matt rattner

1989

original karl strauss tanks

1991

original karl strauss tanks

2008

great american beer festival winners

2016

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