Interview: brewmaster Liz Chism (Council Brewing Company)

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Craft Beer San Diego

Photo of Liz Chism and husband Curtis courtesy of Council Brewing Company


Where do you see the San Diego beer scene in five years, and how does Council Brewing fit into that vision?

Over the next five years, I see San Diego drinking more craft beer. Right now only 10% of beer drinkers in San Diego are drinking craft beer. If Portland, Oregon at 20% is any indicator of where San Diego could be, then San Diego could easily double the current market share. Education will play a big role in reaching that 20% market share. Council Brewing plans to be educational at its core. We also envision more brewpubs opening in San Diego to bring craft beer and high quality food to many local communities, and plan to open a brewpub of our own to further the communal, excellent service, and educational aspects of Council.

What’s an aspect of craft beer culture or another city that you would like to see more of in San Diego?

Beer has always been very community oriented, so it would be awesome for every community in San Diego to have their own brewery so folks can walk or take a short bike ride to their local brewpub.

Is there a brewery or beer that you can’t get in San Diego that you would like to see?

I’m a huge fan of sour beers and Saisons. There are a few breweries, such as Crooked Stave, Hill Farmstead, Funkwerks, and Southampton that make some incredible sours and/or Saisons, which are hard to get here in San Diego.

Who are some other people in the craft beer community that you look to for inspiration, guidance or advice?

Mike Hess of Mike Hess Brewing has been a great inspiration seeing his brewery go from nano in a small industrial space to a large production brewery in a great urban renewal space. He has often shared advice as we got started brewing and grew in our brewing skills.

AleSmith Brewing Co. has shown us that high quality staff, beer, and tasting room can be achieved at one brewery. And of course we’ve found the owner, Peter Zien, a BJCP grand master judge, inspirational as we’ve embarked on our homebrewing, beer judging, and ultimately professional brewing ventures.

What will it take for you to consider your work with Council Brewing a success?

As the Book of Proverbs guides “A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches.” We want Council Brewing to have a good name around town. Both Curtis and I have parents who own their own respective businesses and seeing how their reputation have been the pillars of their success has inspired us to want the same. We want people to think of Council Brewing as a place where we always have great beer, friendly knowledgeable bar tenders, and a relaxing atmosphere.


Joshua Lurie

Joshua Lurie founded FoodGPS in 2005. Read about him here.

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