Since opening its tasting room a little more than a year ago, Border X Brewing (2181 Logan Ave.) has led a wave of excitement and redevelopment in Barrio Logan. Owner David Favela has consistently offered up his tasting room and gallery as a place for artists to sell their work, and for charities and schools to fundraise.
The tasting room opens art shows every two weeks and does not charge commission for artwork sold. Favela said they also support other issues important to the neighborhood, like helping the families of the 43 missing Ayotzinapa students in Mexico.
"We held multiple events here in support and in honor of the families, as well as the activists who are trying to put money together," he said.
Recently, the tasting room hosted a fundraising event with Veterans for Peace and Border Angels in support of the Deported Veterans House in Tijuana. Master Chef winner Claudia Sandoval donated her time, leading a team of local chefs in preparing food for the event.
"It (was) a perfect opportunity for me to give back in a way that I'm very passionate about, and in a way that continues to help raise money and raise awareness," she said.
In June the tasting room is hosting a gala for Kipp: Adelante Preparatory Academy.
"(The kids) are mostly from Barrio Logan or Logan Heights," he said. "We just see it as an important part of our mission."
Favela said he has been in talks with San Diego Comic-Con and hopes to have con-connected events in the barrio this summer. He sees comics as a great way to help get kids to read.
"I was sent to a special education school for bilingual education, and I had a terrible time," Favela said. "The one thing that saved me was a love for comic books. (They) can be an entry point for kids in the barrio, to not only acquire language but also different ideas and culture."
With property values up and breweries moving in, talk of gentrification of the barrio has followed. Favela said he is not worried.
"To me, gentrification doesn't have to be a bad word," he said.
Favela believes it is the intentions of the developers that affect growth.
"Is it building on the community's culture and enriching the lives of the people who live here, or is it trying to attract a whole new community?" he asked. "We've all made this a really good, fun place to live so people want to live here. Unfortunately, some landlords can be greedy and abuse it."
There is still a lot of unused square footage in the neighborhood.
"It'd be wonderful to see some more barrio entrepreneurs stepping up," he said. "Or, we can get lost, and not figure out how to fill these empty storefronts with those kind of businesses, and guess what? We'll get the other kind. The check-cashing places and big-brand cafes, and all of that will begin to deteriorate the fabric of the community."
Barrio Logan is not the first neighborhood whose revitalization has been helped along by the region's robust brewing culture. But will that success continue to benefit the community, or will increased property values begin to affect the character of the barrio? Whatever comes, Border X looks to be a major player, and Favela a voice for those who have long called the barrio home.