- Dave Adams, Director of Beer Education and Certified Cicerone®, Green Flash Brewing Co.
- Scot Blair, Co-founder/CEO and Certified Cicerone®, Monkey Paw Brewing
- Austin Copeland, Head Brewer, Hillcrest Brewing Co.
- Matt Johnson, Sales Director, Bay City Brewing Company
- Greg Koch, Co-founder/Executive Chairman and Certified Cicerone®, Stone Brewing Co.
- Candace L. Moon, Founder, The Craft Beer Attorney APC
- Jake Nunes, Tasting Room Manager and Certified Cicerone®, North Park Beer Co.
- “Dr.” Bill Sysak, Co-Founder/CEO and Certified Cicerone®, Wild Barrel Brewing Co.
- Andrew Wilde, Brand Manager, Karl Strauss Brewing Company
A San Diego native, Dave Adams is an outspoken champion for his hometown's craft beer community. He has become an industry insider and mentor to a new generation of craft beer fans. As vice president of hospitality at Green Flash Brewing Co., Adams leads educational beer events including tastings and food pairing in the brewery and beyond. He began working in the industry at Stone World Bistro and Gardens in 2006, immediately drawn in by the community spirit of the scene. As beverage coordinator at Churchill's Pub and Grille (2007-2011), Adams was instrumental in planning a diverse beer rotation and led countless beer-pairing dinners. In 2009 he became a Certified Cicerone®. He joined Green Flash in 2011 and embraces the brand's pioneering, beer-first philosophy. A resource for internal and external education, Adams is dedicated to ensuring that the craft beer scene remains approachable and entertaining. He now heads up three tasting rooms in San Diego, a restaurant, a tasting room in Virginia Beach, and a soon-to-be restaurant in Lincoln, NE.
Scot Blair is a former marine, working humanitarian relief operations in Bangladesh, Philippines, and Somalia as well as the Desert Shield and Desert Storm wars. After leaving the military, he began work as a senior network engineer, which allowed him to travel and experience great beer throughout the world. Scot discovered home brewing, and realized there was a void of beer-centric establishments in his neighborhood. He reincarnated San Diego's oldest beer and wine license into the archetype of craft beer bars, opening the iconic Hamilton's Tavern. In the past seven years, he has been a leader and an innovator in San Diego's ever-growing craft beer community. Scot attained the respected title of Certified Cicerone® in 2010, and has continued with his vision, opening other craft-focused establishments such as award-winning Small Bar and Monkey Paw (a boutique brewery). In 2012, Scot received the honorable title of Imbibe Magazine’s Beer Person of the Year.
Austin Copeland is the head brewer of Hillcrest Brewing Co., the first LGBT brewery. Copeland was recently profiled on Kings Of The Craft, where he espoused his philosophy that beer is the great “bringer-together,” and with more than 190 sub-styles of beer, there is a style out there for everybody. He is not a member of the swish-and-spit crowd, and wants beer to be more accessible than wine – you don’t have to be a beer nerd or pretentious bearded hipster dude with skinny jeans. Copeland believes that craft beer is for anyone who wants to enjoy a good product, and that the rise of craft beer is associated with the rise of the foodie movement.
Matt Johnson is the sales director at Bay City Brewing Company and part owner of Helm's Brewing Company, which he co-founded with friends in 2012. He has worked in startup breweries with experience in all aspects of the business side of craft beer, as a general manager and sales director. Born and raised in San Diego, Matt graduated from SDSU in 2008 with a degree in criminal justice. He continues to support the university, and give back to the craft beer community.
Greg Koch is cofounder and Executive Chairman of Stone Brewing Co. in Escondido, California. Since he started the company with his partner Steve Wagner in 1996, Stone has become one of the fastest-growing and highest-rated breweries in the world. Stone is ranked the tenth-largest craft brewery in the U.S., and has been twice named "All-Time Top Brewery on Planet Earth" by BeerAdvocate magazine.
Koch passionately believes that environmental and social sustainability go hand‐in-hand with brewing beer, and he enjoys speaking on topics ranging from craft beer to business philosophy to food to marketing. He has coauthored two books—The Craft of Stone Brewing,Co.: Liquid Lore, Epic Recipes, and Unabashed Arrogance and The Brewer’s Apprentice. Koch is recognized as one of the leading experts and advocates in the craft brewing world, and was named “2012 Most Admired CEO” by the San Diego Business Journal.
Candace L. Moon
Candace L. Moon, Esq., is an attorney and partner at Dinsmore & Shohl, LLP. Since 2009, she has worked with over 350 craft breweries and craft breweries-in-planning nationwide, handling business entity formation, alcoholic beverage law, contract review, trademark law, and other legal needs. Moon is a frequent lecturer for both state and national craft beer conferences as well as an instructor for craft beer certificates at San Diego State University, and UC San Diego. She has spoken and taught continuing legal education (CLE) for various legal associations, has written numerous articles and appeared on a variety of nationally televised broadcasts including CBS This Morning, MSNBC, and Fox Business. Moon's undergraduate degree is from the University of Virginia and her juris doctorate is from Thomas Jefferson School of Law in San Diego. She can be reached at info@CraftBeerAttorney.com or visit her website at CraftBeerAttorney.com.
Jake Nunes is a veteran of San Diego's food and beverage industry and has over 20 years of experience with a focus on management and bar leadership. He developed his passion for craft beer in 2003 while working at Karl Strauss and has since proven himself to be a true craft beer enthusiast, having sampled thousands of different beers and visited more than one hundred breweries. In addition to Karl Strauss, he has held positions at a number of breweries and craft beer establishments including: Ballast Point Brewing & Spirits, Stone Brewing, Green Flash Brewing, Tiger! Tiger! Tavern, and he is now the Tasting Room Manager for North Park Beer Co. Nunes was awarded the title of Certified Cicerone® in 2011.
Bill Sysak is known in the inner circle of craft beer-dom as a master of zymurgical knowledge and is a Certified Cicerone®. In 2009, he joined Stone Brewing Company as the beverage supervisor and became the craft beer ambassador, putting on unparalleled beer and food pairing events and created festivals such as Sour Fest and Oakquinox. In 2016, Sysak co-founded Wild Barrel Brewing Co. One of the most knowledgeable craft beer experts in the industry, Sysak has been featured in such publications as The New York Times, the LA Times, Draft magazine, Imbibe, and Food & Wine. He can also be found on the popular podcasts “New Brew Thursday” where he does a weekly “Master Pairings” segment; and “Expert Drinking” where he educates fans on the best of craft beers, fine wines, and spirits.
Andrew Wilde, a fellow alum of San Diego State University, kicked off his beer career with Karl Strauss Brewing Company back in 2010. Since then he has championed a number of different roles including the management of KSBC's events and donations program – donating 1% of sales to nonprofit organizations, the annual Pro-Am competition, company-wide beer education, and beer-portfolio product innovation. A Certified Cicerone® and evangelist for all things beer, Wilde enjoys sharing his obsession with any who will oblige.