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Karl Strauss completes expansion; celebrates 20 years in S.D.

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In February 1989, two college grads and a 75-year-old master brewer, who shared a passion for beer, sparked the journey of the Karl Strauss Brewing Co. -- reportedly the first craft brewery to open in San Diego since Prohibition. Chris and Matt, along with help from world-renowned master brewer Karl Strauss, realized their dream.

Fast-forward to 2009, and they are celebrating 20 years of craft brewing in San Diego. They have recently completed their brewery expansion and new bottling line, among others.

Karl Strauss' main brewery has been stationed in Pacific Beach for 13 years now and when it came time to expand, its owners didn't want to part from their converted greenhouse. Instead, they opted to find a way to make the existing footprint work. The result is an impressive use of space -- their new bottling line operates on two floors, and the brewery expansion equipment was completely rearranged to make room for five new 240-barrel fermenters and two new 120-barrel bright tanks. After adding a new energy-efficient glycol chiller, boiler, lighting and an automated brewing monitoring system, the expansion was complete and the brewery is now capable of producing 60,000 barrels annually.

Coming off the new bottling line will be all-new packaging, featuring handcrafted, sterile filtered beer. Additionally, the brewery also added a new brand to the mix -- Tower 10 IPA. Named after lifeguard Tower 10 in Mission Beach where Chris and Matt first hatched their plans for Karl Strauss Brewing Co., it seemed fitting to name a beer coming out this year after the spot where it all began.

"When we first decided to open a craft brewery 20 years ago, we had no idea how it would be received. Looking back, it's amazing to see that from our first brewpub, San Diego has grown into a craft beer Mecca. We love doing business in Southern California and we're proud to be a strong supporter of our local communities through our fundraising events and community donations. We are looking forward to celebrating this milestone with the completion of our new bottling line, new packaging and great new beers," said Matt Ratter, president and co-founder.

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