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West Coaster records

Identifier: SC012

Scope and Contents

The West Coaster records consist of physical and digital records from the West Coaster: San Diego Beverage News magazine and its sister publications, the San Diego Beverage Times and Southern California Beer News. Additional paper records and artifacts were donated to the library as part of the collection.

The West Coaster website was also donated and provided additional content not found in the print issues. Before hosting was ceased, the California State University San Marcos University Library agreed to harvest the website; unfortunately, some PDF publisher versions of the West Coaster were lost before the website could be harvested. University Library Special Collections scanned digital surrogates of physical items to replace lost publisher files; these digital surrogates have been uploaded to the West Coaster website.


  • 2010-11 - 2020-11


Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open for research. Please contact Special Collections in advance to request access.

Most issues of the West Coaster have been scanned and have digital access copies. Digital copies can be accessed at the West Coaster website. Some issues were never originally added to the West Coaster website; as such, they will not be added to the web archive either. Please contact Special Collections for access to issues that are not scanned.

The Special Collections and University Archives Reading Room is accessible by appointment only, Monday-Friday, 8am - 4pm. Final requests for materials must be made one hour prior to closing. Please submit requests for archival materials at least 24 hours in advance of desired appointment. Materials requested over the weekend will be available on the following Tuesday at the earliest. Please note that Special Collections and University Archives observes all campus holiday closures as noted in the Library Calendar. For more information, please send an email to

Conditions Governing Use

Property rights reside with California State University San Marcos. Copyrights are retained by the creators of the records and their heirs. For permission to reproduce or to publish, please contact

Permission to examine Library materials is not authorization to publish or to reproduce the examined material in whole, or in part. Persons wishing to quote, publish, perform, reproduce, or otherwise make use of an item in the Library’s collections must assume all responsibility for identifying and satisfying any claimants of the copyright holder.

The researcher assumes full responsibility for use of the material and agrees to hold harmless the University Library, and California State University, against all claims, demands, costs, and expenses incurred by copyright infringement or any other legal or regulatory cause of action arising from the use of the Library's materials.

In assuming full responsibility for use of the material, the researcher also understands that the materials they examine may contain Social Security numbers, other personal identifiers, and/or sensitive material on potentially living and identifiable individuals (e.g., medical, evaluative, or personally invasive information). The researcher agrees not to record, reproduce, or disclose any Social Security number or other information of a highly personal nature that may be found.

Historical note

West Coaster magazine was first printed October 2010 with the inaugural issue dated November 2010. Initial distribution was timed to coincide San Diego’s second Beer Week celebration. First issues printed on 11x17 inch folded newsprint format. The size and format changed to 8.125 x 10 inch stapled newsprint with the October 2012 issue and remained in that form through the final issue. Funded by advertising sales, the publication was distributed for free to its readership through local breweries.

The publication’s tag line began as “Serving the San Diego Craft Beer Community,” changed to “Serving America’s Finest Beer County” with the April 2012 issue, and changed again to reflect a broadened content focus with the July 2019 issue use of “San Diego Beverage News” reflecting the incorporation of its sister publication, San Diego Beverage News into the West Coaster. San Diego Beverage News was established in 2017 to cover the non-beer alcoholic beverage industry. Another sister publication, Southern California Beer News briefly expanded coverage to include through Los Angeles County.

Content not only covered San Diego area breweries, but local taverns, industry personnel, festivals, topical events, and industry issues. The yearly March issue focused on women in observation of Women’s Month. Extensive coverage of competitions such as Great American Beer Festival (GABF) and the San Diego International Beer Festival included the brewers and their winning submissions. Advertising was directed to both the industry and the consumer, with Ballast Point Brewing and Karl Strauss Breweries generally purchasing the back cover. This practice changed with the August 2020 final issue which was purchased by Stone Brewing. The Stone Brewing advertising is notable as Stone’s ownership had a long-held policy to not purchase advertising.

The outbreak of COVID-19 caused county-wide brewery closures. The loss of advertising revenue paused hard copy publication for April, May, June, and July 2020. A print issue was distributed August 2020. The continued loss of revenue prevented further print issues. Limited digital content continued to be loaded through November 2020 at which time, all publication ceased.


5.0 Linear Feet




The West Coaster records consist of physical items including published issues of the West Coaster: San Diego Beverage News magazine, San Diego Beverage Times magazine, Southern California Beer News, and some related artifacts and documents. The West Coaster website was also donated and has been archived by the California State University San Marcos University Library Special Collections.


This collection is arranged to the series level. The first three series are publications by title. Series are:

1. West Coaster: San Diego Beer News 2. San Diego Beverage Times, 2017-2020 3. Southern California Beer News, 2013-2014 4. Artifacts, realia, and documents 5. West Coaster website, 2010-2020

Physical Location

Kellogg 1006 5.a.2 (magazines) 19.a.1 (artifacts, realia, and documents).

Custodial History

Physical items and website were donated to the Library in 2021. However, before the website was donated, some PDF publisher files of the West Coaster were lost. California State University San Marcos University Library has created digital surrogates of physical issues of the West Coaster for upload to the donated site.

Phyllis and Tom Shess, Mike’s parents, were backers of the publications and stored the backfile at their home until transfer to the CSUSM Brewchive®. The parents were both in journalism at one time.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Mike Shess, September 18, 2021.

Materials Specific Details

Some issues of the West Coaster are very rare. Very few issues of August 2011, no. 10 are left. The October, 2012 (v. 2, no. 11) issue held by the library is the only known copy, as is the April 2013 (v. 3, no.5) issue. The March 2013 issue (v. 3, no. 4) is also very scarce.

Processing Information

Processed by Judith Downie and Ernest Cisneros. The print issues were stored in plastic page protectors in vinyl binders held in a plastic flip-top bin. Issues missing from the Shess donation are September 2019-March 2020. Those issues were previously donated to the Brewchive® by Mike Shess or collected by the Brewchive® Curator. Duplicate issues of Dec/Jan were sleeved in both years. This organization was retained, and four loose issues that duplicated sleeved issues were moved to the West Coaster Extras collection.

Binders (ten total) are beginning to disintegrate. The Curator replaced with archival boxes. Sticky notes or business cards were used for notes written by Phyllis Shess on various issues identifying rarity or gaps in collection. Notes removed from binder covers stored at beginning of West Coaster series in a plastic sleeve. Notes for specific issues retained with the relevant issue on a card stock slip. Cover notes identifying the year contained in the binder were discarded.

Other Items are stored in separate archival boxes. Baseball uniform shirt has been washed with Orvus WA paste and line dried before storing.

As noted in donation inventory, missing issues from August 2019 through March 2020. This gap was filled in with issues previously collected by the Curator.

  • Duplicate issues of physical publications were deacessioned.
Guide to the West Coaster records
Sean Visintainer and Judith Downie
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the CSUSM Special Collections Repository

California State University San Marcos Library
333 S. Twin Oaks Valley Rd
San Marcos California 92096-0001 United States