How Natural Gas Fuels San Diego’s Craft Breweries

Back in the 1980s, the term “craft beer” didn’t exist. Today, it’s synonymous with San Diego’s role as the “capitol of craft” in America, boasting more than 130 craft breweries. For many, the City of San Diego’s leadership in craft beer started with the oldest brewery within city limits, the Karl Strauss Brewing Company.

“We want to deliver the highest quality beer at a great price; that’s good for our customers and that’s good for us,” boasts Chris Cramer, CEO and co-founder of Karl Strauss Brewing Company. Cramer and partner Matt Rattner opened their first craft brewery in 1989 and now run multiple high volume brewery restaurants while ranking in the top 50 of the nation’s 3,500 largest craft breweries.

To maintain this excellence takes vision, a dedicated team, top-notch ingredients and a reliable energy source to keep operations running smoothly.

“Brewing is a high-energy use business and natural gas is absolutely critical to our operations,” said Cramer. “You need natural gas for everything from firing up the brew kettles, to steam cleaning and cleaning kegs; we’re always boiling water in the brewery as we have to constantly sterilize everything.”

Natural gas is used in virtually every step of the brewing process; from mashing and “sparging” the grains to boiling the wort. Natural gas is also a clean, efficient and “instant” fuel source, says Cramer, which is ideal for brewery operations.

And, after earning numerous medals over the years, including being named America’s “Mid-Size Brewing Company of the Year” last year, these pioneers take pride in perfecting their craft, as well as growing their competition. After all, many San Diego brewers got their first taste of brewing beer working at Karl Strauss.

“Our plan for the future is to continue to grow, to continue to make the world’s greatest beer and to continue to serve great food to happy guests. All that can’t happen without natural gas.”

And, that creates “hoppiness” here in San Diego—one of the top craft beer destinations in America. To learn more about how natural gas fuels the Karl Strauss Brewing Company and other craft breweries, visit