Drink Beer to Fight Breast Cancer at Brewbies

There’s a beer festival nearly every weekend in San Diego, but the 11th annual Brewbies Festival at Oceanside’s Bagby Beer Company on Saturday, February 8 is not your run-of-the-mill fest.

It’s a fundraiser for breast cancer prevention and education, voter registration drive, cornhole tournament, food drive, and charitable raffle all wrapped up in one bonanza event. All proceeds go directly to Keep A Breast, an organization whose mission is to empower young people with breast health education and support around the globe.

According to Brewbies’ founder, Melanie Pierce, the festival has raised over $540,000 since its inception in 2010 in San Diego. Thanks to its success, it has since expanded to events in Alameda, California and Charlottesville, Virginia as well. 

“In my humble opinion, I really think it stands out above all other festivals because we really aim to put the cause at the forefront of the event,” says Pierce. “We strive to give Keep A Breast a huge presence and share their mission.”

Keep A Breast was founded 20 years ago by Shaney jo Darden when she realized no breast cancer organization specifically marketed to people in their teens and twenties. In the United States, over 300,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer every year and 12,000 of those are women under 40.

Additionally, according to Johns Hopkins Medical Center, 40% of diagnosed breast cancers come after a self-detection. Keep A Breast’s free self-check app Check Yourself! teaches users how to properly perform at-home breast exams and even schedules automatic monthly reminders.

Over 50 breweries from San Diego and beyond will be pouring at this year’s Brewbies, but the Pink Beer Competition is a unique highlight in which participating breweries create a pink beer specifically for the festival, which are then blind judged by a panel of experts. Past entrants have added everything from beets to pink glitter to achieve a blush-colored beer, and the winner takes home a one-of-a-kind ceramic breast cast handmade by French artist Nora Alins-Carpentier as the champion’s trophy. 

General admission tickets are $49 when pre-purchased, but jump to $60 if purchased at the door. Attendees who wish to skip the line can either pre-purchase VIP tickets for $69, or bring three canned or shelf-stable food items (or a $10 donation) for the Punk Rock Food Drive to gain early access to Brewbies. All tickets include a tasting glass, an i love boobies! bracelet, and unlimited 2-ounce samples of over 80 beers. (Public transit and ride-sharing are encouraged; use code BREWBIES10 to get 20% off your Lyft rides to and from the festival).

Despite the somber commonality of breast cancer in the United States and across the world, Pierce is encouraged by the overwhelming positivity and optimism the Brewbies festival inspires.

“My favorite part of the entire day is seeing everything come together and people walking around, smiling, cheersing, celebrating friendship and sharing the care for this cause that has brought us together.”


thedelightedbite @delightedbite

Beth Demmon is a freelance writer, journalist, and BJCP beer judge from San Diego. She received the North American Guild of Beer Writers 2019 Diversity in Beer Writing grant and is the beer columnist at San Diego Magazine.

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