Erik Fowler is the executive director of San Diego Brewers Guild, a nonprofit that promotes local small businesses and entrepreneurs of craft beer. San Diego (a k a “The Capital of Craft”) has the most craft brewery locations among all counties in the United States. with more than 150. Learn about Erik Fowler…
Follow at: @sdbrewers
Hometown: Ramona, CA
First job: In my first job, I worked under the table at a paintball park on weekends for what came out to be $5 per hour. I was 14 and got to play paintball for free on days I didn’t work so it seemed like a win to me.
Favorite ways to spend your free time in CA: As a father of two, we spend a lot of time outside. San Diego has amazing county parks which, honestly, are very underutilized.
Your biggest accomplishment and why: At least at the time, becoming a Certified Cicerone in 2013 (it’s similar to being a Certified Sommelier). This was a bit turning point in my career and took a lot of intensive studying in order to pass the exam.
The biggest obstacle you overcame: Not sure if it was my biggest, but one I’m proud of is proving to myself and those around me that a good work ethic and drive to want the best in what you do is worth more than a college education. It took me years after high school to continue my education and spending my early 20’s studying beer and brewing and getting tattoos brings a lot of skepticism about your career choice. It took some time, but I’m still here teaching and inspiring my communities about the importance and positive impact of craft beer.
Someone who inspires you and why: My wife continues to inspire and ground me. She’s a working parent who gives her all each and every day.
Advice to someone pursuing a career path in what you do: Admit when you screw up and don’t let others bring you down about it. Better yourself and move on. Read and ask questions. Read books on topics you engage with day-to-day in your professional career. Understanding beer will take you so far, but understanding people and business will provide you with tools to navigate life both professionally and personally. Lastly, don’t spend time on others’ shortcomings. If they wanted to, they would.
Favorite quote: “For the ones who are told to speak only when spoken to, and then are never spoken to, the ones who the amendments do not stand up for, the ones who are forgotten: Speak every time you stand, so you do not forget yourselves” – Shake the Dust, Anis Mojgani
Something someone would be surprised to learn about you: It’s hard for me to enjoy a beer until my responsibilities are wrapped up for the day, and the kids are in bed. This might seem like a logical thing to most, but trust me, it can be tough in the beer industry.
What makes someone fabulous: Self-love.