In November of 2014, about a year before its own acquisition by Constellation Brands, I sat in the corporate offices of Ballast Point's massive new Miramar location surrounded by cubicles. I was waiting for the go-ahead to start wandering the production floor and documenting the brewery for an upcoming article charting the meteoric growth of one of the county's best West coast breweries.
I couldn't see anyone over the half-walls. But at some point, everyone's bunker-like position was given away by the buzz of their phones. It was like an emergency alert beacon.
"Oh no!" a woman yelped. "Green Flash bought Alpine!"
The grumbling and "ughs" rose up from each beige enclosure and the sound of keys clicking began furiously spreading across the office as one person after another jammed the same few words into their Google search bars.
"Oh maaaan..." another woman said upon confirming the news. "I hope they don't get allll Green-Flashy."
The next day I made my first visit to Alpine's taproom and the place was packed like a living wake. There was still some good life left in those taps—but to the locals, it was maybe the last of it.