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Friday, March 27, 2015


THEN--Mission Brewing Co., Hancock Street (Washington Street at Pacific Coast Highway), 1915
SUDS CENTENNIAL--San Diego’s reputation as craft beer mecca gets a boost this month as the planet’s leading beer makers arrive to participate in the 2015 National Homebrewers Conference at the Town & Country Resort June 11-13.  Considered the one of the biggest competition in the world, this year’s American Homebrewers Assn. conference will attract more than 4,000 attendees.
             “It’s fitting that the AHA conference is being held in San Diego, considering our county is recognized as the hottest growing micro brew in the world,” says Ryan Lamb, executive editor of West Coaster, a craft beer magazine, published in San Diego.

Historically, San Diego was home to several thriving breweries until Congress passed the 18th Amendment (aka Prohibition) closed them all in 1919.  Built in 1913, Mission Brewing brick building (pictured in 1915) became a quarantine hospital for victims of the world flu pandemic during Prohibition.  One hundred years ago, Mission Brewery was known for Old Mission Lager and Hopski, a soft-drink made from malt and hops, the jolt drink of its day.

Fast forward to 2007, when Dan Selis resurrected the Mission Brewing name and last year he moved into a new facility in what was once the Wonder Bread bakery.  Today, the popular brewery’s signature brews are a local Hefeweitzen, Amber Ale and a San Diego County IPA.  Mission’s beers have won their share of national beer competitions, which only add to the growing prestige of San Diego County as the hottest craft beer making zone in the world.

Editor’s note: A version of this article appeared in San Diego Home/Garden Lifestyles, April 2012. Images courtesy of San Diego Home/Garden Lifestyles and San Diego History Center.

Thursday, March 26, 2015


Owners of The Argonaut fight to support restaurant workers struggling with addiction
SMOOTHING OUT THE BUMPS—H Street NE in Washington DC is smoothly paved but if you’re troubled by alcohol and drug abuse it can be a viewed as a bumpy road.  But it’s not just H Street.  All roads are bumpy to an addict in recovery.

Scott Magnuson and his wife Shaaren Pine co-own The Argonaut tavern, 1433 H Street NE in Washington DC. After twice being recognized as one of the city’s best bars in Washingtonian magazine and twice finishing runner-up in the Washington City Paper’s “Most Family Friendly Restaurant” award, it is obvious that they know what they are doing.

Sharren, Scott and Daughter
What is not immediately obvious is that one of the best bars in the nation’s capital is run by a recovering alcoholic and drug addict.

In their new memoir, “Torn Together,” that the couple has co-written—Magnuson and Pine describe the bumpy road that led to Magnuson’s recovery after battling addiction since he was 14 years old. Their two perspectives join together to form a very real and intense testimony of struggle to save both their family and their business.

“We need to take the shame and stigma off of addicts,” said Pine. “Addiction is a medical condition, not a moral failing. Unfortunately, it is also a disease that infects everybody in its path. Because of that, everybody caught in addiction’s web needs help – not just the addict.”

Now that Magnuson and his family are in recovery, he and Pine have mounted a double-pronged attack in the battle against addiction. They are doing what they can to let people who are struggling know that they are not alone. They are also trying to bring attention to restaurant culture’s permissive attitude with regard to drug and alcohol use in the workplace.

“Those who work in the restaurant industry know that there is a lot of use of drugs and alcohol,” said Magnuson. “Not everyone does it, of course, but those who do are often allowed to by their managers and bosses. Ignoring this behavior not only hurts these people and their families, but often ends up hurting the business as well.”

Recently, in addition to changing the culture within their own restaurant, Magnuson and Pine have also created a nonprofit called Restaurant Recovery [] that seeks to assist restaurant employees who would like help in finding and paying for reputable drug and alcohol treatment programs. It also helps the families of restaurant workers, seeking to both challenge and change restaurant culture.

Recovering addict and entrepreneur is dedicated to challenging restaurant culture
For more information, visit and

 “Torn Together: One Family’s Journey Through Addiction, Treatment & the Restaurant Industry,” By Scott Magnuson and Shaaren Pine

ISBN: 978-1-4969-6584-4
Available in softcover, hardcover, e-book
Available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and AuthorHouse

About the authors
Scott Magnuson is a recovering alcoholic and addict who co-owns one of the best bars in Washington, D.C. He is also the president of the Capitol Hill Chamber of Commerce. He has worked in the restaurant industry and struggled with drug and alcohol addiction since he was 14 years old. He has subsequently completed inpatient and outpatient treatment for alcohol and substance abuse.

As a business owner and manager, Shaaren Pine is committed to challenging restaurant culture’s status quo. She is also determined to bridge the gap between business and community. She is passionate about adoptee rights and advocates for the families of addicts. She has written for The Washington Post and Masala Mommas.

The couple also owns Harborside Market & Café in South Bristol, Maine.