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Rising water rates could affect beer prices in San Diego

San Diego water rates increase could impact beer prices
Posted at 9:12 PM, Dec 02, 2023
and last updated 2023-12-03 00:12:29-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — For local breweries in San Diego, it's becoming increasingly complex to brew beer due to a recent surge in water rates.

"Ninety-five to 97% of all beers are water," said Marty Ochs, owner of Resident Brewery in downtown San Diego. Ochs said although they use a lot of water, the bill was never a concern.

However, what was once a manageable expense for business owners like Ochs has now become a pressing concern.

On Friday, the city increased water rates by 5%, with an additional 5.2% hike scheduled for July 1 of next year and a final substantial jump of 8.7% on January 1, 2025.

“It is frustrating how to manage that: where are we going to cut back or increase our cost to our retailers, which then effects our consumers," said Ochs.

City officials said the change is necessary because of a rate hike from the San Diego County Water Authority, responsible for buying and importing water to the region.

As San Diego breweries navigate these rising costs, the impact on the local craft beer scene and its enthusiasts remains uncertain.

“I think you’ll probably see in the new year other breweries and distributors increasing their cost," Oches said. "It’s not just water, it’s 20 things going up at once.”