How Karl Strauss is Strategic with Expansion, Partnerships

Karl Strauss Brewing Company first opened a brewpub 31 years ago in San Diego. Since then the company has expanded to 10 different locations across Southern California, all while partnering with other companies to create great beer.

Being strategic through the process has led to Karl Strauss’ success. 

As we added more brewpubs, we targeted sites that were well suited to welcoming a craft beer mecca,” said Karl Strauss representatives in an email to Brewer.

In terms of brand recognition, tap rooms offer the consumer the ability to have a deeper understanding of the company and beer, rather than simply distributing to new locations and getting on shelves.

“Our team members can really tell the story of Karl Strauss, and help our fans resonate with new beers and flavors they may not try if they were at a bar or liquor store,” they said. “Because we brew beer at each of our locations, every brewpub has a personality of their own and we love that our amazing brewers contribute to the unique nature that is Karl Strauss Brewing Company.”

When the brewery partners with other brands, it’s about growing them, not collecting them.

“Our strategy is to partner with brands who need improved access to market, don’t overly compete with each other, have a regional presence, are of like mind and values to us… and of course, make exceptional beverages,” they said.

Generally when partnering with other brands, if it’s a good relationship, then a plan is set forth for going to the market.

“We welcome a partnership where both parties challenge each other to get better in every element of business,” they said. “We call it, ‘giving a damn.’ Instead of just talking numbers, we speak about packaging, styles, marketing positioning, sales strategies, etc.”

One of the more recent partnerships is with Bird Rock Coffee Roasters, in which the two companies collaborated on a Golden Stout with Coffee and Barrel-Aged Vanilla Bean Wreck Alley. Both feature coffee beans from the San Diego-based Bird Rock.

In 2019, Karl Strauss adopted a more consistent label template and began releasing beers statewide, rather than just in Southern California.

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