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Death of Tony Gwynn gives new meaning to AleSmith beer

AleSmith and Tony Gwynn San Diego Pale Ale 394
AleSmith and Tony Gwynn San Diego Pale Ale 394
Don Ayres

When AleSmith Brewing released San Diego Pale Ale 394, the partnership between the Miramar brewery and Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn celebrated Gwynn’s career for the Padres. Monday saw the beer take on a different meaning as San Diego reeled from the news of Gwynn’s death from salivary gland cancer. While fans memorialized Gwynn by leaving flowers at the slugger’s statue at Petco Park, AleSmith turned their new beer into a celebration of Gwynn’s life, and pledged the proceeds of sales to charity.

” The entire AleSmith family is incredibly saddened to learn of the passing of Mr. Padre, Tony Gwynn,” said a statement on AleSmith’s Facebook page. “Tony was the epitome of a class act and hero to all San Diegans, and our deepest condolences go out to the entire Gwynn family for their loss.” Fans wishing to honor Gwynn with a pint of San Diego Pale Ale 394 can do so knowing that proceeds will be donated to the Tony & Alicia Gwynn Foundation.

The mood in the AleSmith tasting room on Monday was a combination of somber reverence and pleasant memories from Gwynn’s career. Fans, decked out in their Padres jerseys, admired the tasting room’s Tony Gwynn decorations, including a life-sized replica photo of Gwynn’s Hall of Fame plaque. Souvenir pint glasses from the San Diego Pale Ale 394 release party sat in front of nearly every person in the tasting room, a final piece of memorabilia from San Diego’s love affair with the man they called “Mr. Padre.”

It’s unclear how long AleSmith plans to donate proceeds from the sale of San Diego Pale Ale 394 to Gwynn’s foundation, but the beer looks to figure into the long-term plans for AleSmith. As they prepare to move into their new production facility in 2015, current plans are to bottle the beer in 12-ounce bottles.