A: My mother passed away from cancer in 1993, when I first moved to San Diego. At that time, a friend of mine was on the board of a local professional group who was thinking of starting up a beer festival to benefit a national cancer research related organization. When he found out about my mom’s passing he asked if I wanted to join him. We put on that first festival in 1994 on a Saturday at the Port’s North Embarcadero and had 700 people show up, despite the rain that morning. We soon learned that it would be more efficient for us to put on the event by founding our own nonprofit organization, so we founded SDPAC and never looked back.
Q: What roles have you filled over the past 20 years with SDPAC?
A: I have been the vice president of SDPAC since its inception, but I have literally done all sorts of tasks such as calling & recruiting brewers, soliciting sponsorships, negotiating with media, getting permits from the city and ABC, overseeing volunteers, and in the early days putting half of the charges on my personal credit card. (Candace Brown, the President for many years, put the other half on her credit card).
Q: What is your favorite part about the organization?
A: I love knowing that in a small way we are making a difference to someone, whether its by donating to Cancer Angels, that help a particular person get to their appointments or by donating to Rady’s Children’s hospital, knowing the heart monitors we purchased will help ease the day for cancer patients by not having to constantly move them.
A: I became a big fan of Karl Strauss beer when I moved to San Diego, but by then I had already enjoyed Sierra Nevada beer.
Q: How do you keep up with the ever-changing San Diego craft beer scene?
A: I try to attend beer festivals to taste new beers. I also read up on new breweries in the West Coaster, or I read when my beer aficionado friends have posted about something new.
Q: What beer are you most excited about trying at this year’s festival?
A: I am hoping to taste something from Tom Nickel because I have not had a chance to go to Julian yet.
Check out Rachel’s full Q&A in the U-T San Diego, here!