San Diego Brewers Guild Names Fowler as new Executive Director

San Diego Brewers Guild, a nonprofit 501(c)(6) organization that promotes local small businesses and entrepreneurs of craft beer, has named 15-year beer industry veteran Erik Fowler as its new Executive Director. He replaces Paige McWey Acers, who departed for Brewers Supply Group after more than five years in the role and 10 years overall with the Guild. Board President Haley Smith made the announcement. 

Fowler, 35, spent the last nine years as Head of Education & Craft Hospitality at White Labs Brewing Co. and its sister company White Labs, a yeast wholesaler with a team of biochemists that explore new ways to advance brewing. He is a Certified Cicerone®, a certification for skilled beer professionals that is often referred to as the equivalent for sommeliers of wine. The Ramona native also served as a Director on the Brewers Guild Board of Directors for the last year and a half. 

“My passion for beer and brewing stems from my very first visits to taprooms and beer bars,” Fowler said. “From the industrial garages of new breweries that were opened by both homebrewers and industry veterans, to the culinary programs of San Diego’s early gastropubs, my experiences were formative, and I fell in love with the budding community. Fast forward to 2023, it’s up to us as a trade group to ensure craft beer’s continued relevancy and accessibility in our local communities with an ever-changing landscape. I will carry the torch for San Diego craft beer with pride and continue Paige’s legacy of helping so many independent craft breweries prosper.” 

San Diego County is known as The Capital of Craft™, a moniker that was trademarked in 2015. San Diego has the most craft brewery locations among all counties in the United States with more than 150. The Brewers Guild was founded in 1997 with 15 breweries. McWey Acers was named Executive Director in December 2017. She started with the Guild as an administrator in May 2013. 

Fowler was part of the first cohort to graduate from the Business of Craft Beer program at San Diego State University in 2013. He also earned a certificate from UC Davis’s Intensive Brewing Science for Practical Brewing program. Fowler now serves as an instructor at SDSU, as well as in UC San Diego’s Extended Studies brewing program. 

“I have worked with Erik for the last few years while on the Board of Directors, and he brings so much knowledge and enthusiasm to our organization,” Smith said. “I know he will do a great job leading us and working with our members, both individually and collectively, to continue to grow San Diego’s bustling craft beer industry.” 

Fowler began his professional brewing career as a beer buyer, followed by becoming one of the first employees of the now-defunct nano-brewery ChuckAlek in Ramona. He then worked for Stone Brewing and helped open its downtown taproom on J Street.  

The Brewers Guild’s 2023 Board of Directors can be found at Individual brewery events for throughout the year are posted on the Guild’s calendar. The 15th-Annual San Diego Beer Week will take place November 3-12. 

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