By Cody Thompson
Ever since I joined this wonderful world of craft beer in San Diego, I have heard a simple quote summing up our entire craft culture: “Craft beer people are good people.” And I have been lucky enough to see it come to life time and time again.
Whether it is recording a podcast, conducting an interview or simply enjoying a beer in each other’s company, I have had the distinct pleasure of meeting and befriending many of these “good people” within this industry. A perfect example is the man you are about to meet. He is not only a strong craft beer advocate, but also a true gentleman and innovator within this industry.
In 2013, with a heart full of passion and a glass full of craft beer, North Park resident Rudy Pollorena Jr. decided it was time for a change.
“In 2013, I was a freelance graphic designer, designing random corporate logos for various companies, and I eventually grew tired of creating art for something I wasn’t truly vested in,” Pollorena said. “So, I created what is now known as the ‘San Diego Beer Matrix’ as a portfolio piece to showcase my fun side and my passion for craft beer. Once I posted that design on Facebook, people started to share it and it went viral.”
Not long after its reveal, people began asking for the piece in print and clothing form. The San Diego Beer Matrix, a typography design showcasing most local breweries at the time of its creation, was the first of many in Pollorena’s quest to redefine what “beer art” can truly be.
“The main idea was to create quality, fun and refreshing craft beer-inspired art. I purposefully coined the term ‘beer art’ with Craft Beerd, mainly so my art could be on any medium, not just T-shirts,” Pollorena explained.
“From requests of T-shirts to art prints, I couldn’t keep up with the demand. I would make a batch, and it would sell out. I was humbled to the fullest,” he continued. “From that point on, I validated my love for craft beer through art and decided to keep making new designs.”
Since 2013, Pollorena has reshaped the world of beer-related apparel, art and other items through Craft Beerd. His work can be can be found proudly hanging in many local establishments including Hamilton’s Tavern, Fathom Bistro, Carnitas’ Snack Shack and Urge Gastropub to name a few. It can also be found worn on the rising number of backs of his loyal fan base. He’ll even add custom glassware to the mix soon.
Craft Beerd has also designed custom prints for local breweries including some San Diego favorites such as Alpine Beer Company, Societe Brewing Company and Acoustic Ales and Brewing Experiment.
“The people who create craft beer inspire me and I can relate to them even if I am not specifically making beer,” Pollorena said. “When you sip on a good craft beer, you can taste their blood, sweat and beers.”
When it comes to pride and respect, Pollorena is filled with both for our local craft beer community.
“The beer culture permeates throughout the city on a daily basis,” he said. “I live right on 30th Street, which is the mecca for craft beer. All within walking or riding distance of each other are Fall Brewing, Poor House, Tiger! Tiger!, Belching Beaver, Rip Current, Young Hickory, Ritual Tavern, Toronado, Hess, Waypoint, Modern Times, Hamilton’s. It is beer Disneyland right in my own backyard.”
2015 promises to be a great year for Craft Beerd as Pollorena prepares to celebrate his second anniversary in March with a weekend full of events. From March 6 – 8, you will find anniversary events happening at Fall Brewing, Societe Brewing and the Best Coast Beer Festival. While Rudy will be celebrating his two years of hard work, he has something even more beautiful to celebrate this coming year.
“That same week, I am getting married to my beautiful fiancé, Amy Ledesma, who is a major reason why Craft Beerd is successful,” Pollorena said.
To learn more about Rudy Pollorena Jr., Craft Beerd and to see his works of art, visit CraftBeerd.com. Or visit a local craft beer spot and you just might get to have a beer with the man himself.
—Contact Cody Thompson at email@example.com.