Image: Modern Times

San Diego is the craft beer capital of the world, with over 100 independent breweries in the county. Add to that endless sun, surf, and the best Mexican food north of the border, and you might just have yourself a paradise. But even better? San Diego is one of the top 20 greenest cities in the U.S., and its socially responsible breweries helped the city achieve that status.

If you’re headed on a SoCal vacation this summer, be sure to check out these ethical breweries that pair the best brews with the best views . . . on social responsibility, that is!

Stone is the craft beer pioneer. They’ve set the industry’s high standard that other brewers strive to match: a range of fantastic beers linked with a socially conscious business model. Stone continually searches for ways to decrease their carbon footprint, including things like serving sustainable, organic food; reducing transportation needs; using solar power; and formalizing a company-wide reclaimed water plan.

This award-winning brewery hosts popular pints like their signature IPA, Wee Heavy, and Nut Brown ale, and has an equally attractive sustainability mission. For instance, during last year’s expansion into their new 100,000+ sq ft space Alesmith chose MicroStar to manage their kegs rather than owning all of their own kegs, a decision that takes “empty keg miles” off the road and effectively reduces their carbon footprint.

Founded by beer a-fish-ianados, Ballast Point names each beer after an underwater inhabitant: Sculpin, Calico, and Wahoo are among their best sellers. But Ballast Point also reels in good karma by giving back to the local community and ensuring they meet or exceed a number of sustainable brewing practices, all explained in-depth in one of their brewery tours.

Societe was founded on the egalitarian principle that beer is the ultimate social unifier: it brings us together regardless of race or class. In this vein, Societe seeks to create a brewery where community is a top priority—and they succeed admirably. Their participation in notable local events such as BNIM’s Living Brewery Challenge and being winner of Inspiration Green’s 2015 Good Food Award show they care as much about their fellow humans as they do crafting amazing beer.

Looking for a solid brew you can sip in a chic, throwback-to-the-80s-and-90s atmosphere? Look no further than Modern Times. Sidle up to the bar constructed of VHS tapes, set down your tasty pint on a neon 3.5” floppy disk coaster, and soak in the vibe. You’ll feel even better after you check out their Ideology blog, which delves into some super innovative ways we can make positive changes in our communities.

Since its humble beginnings in 2002, Green Flash has been brewing some of the world’s most highly regarded IPAs. And their sustainability efforts are as sublime as the quality of their bubbly batches. Their Brewing It Forward program donates hundreds of kegs to local nonprofits’ events; they inhabit LEED certified buildings; and they’re recognized industry leaders for sustainable business practices and advancements.

San Diego’s premiere beer shop sells the very best local, domestic, and international craft beer. Its tasting room offers a rotating tap list of these top-tier, sustainable brews. But what really caught our conscious eye is their Keg for a Cause program. Each month, Bottlecraft donates 100% of the proceeds of one keg to a nonprofit they’re passionate about, like SURFAID, The Monarch School, and AIGA San Diego LINK. Cheers to that!

At Conscious, we are inspired by remarkable people and organizations and so we set out to tell stories that highlight human interests, global initiatives, innovation, community development and social impact. You can read more stories like this when you subscribe.

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