San Diego microbrewery SouthNorte Beer Co., founded in 2016, has launched its first major advertising campaign that includes a 30-second TV spot, streaming digital and social media.

The four-year-old company’s first ad campaign, titled “A New Frontier in Beer,” is financed by a recent additional investment by marketing and advertising agency executive John Gallegos. In December 2019, Gallegos bought out Coronado Brewing Co.’s minority stake in the brand to become the majority owner of SouthNorte Beer. Financial details of Gallegos’ investment were not disclosed.

SouthNorte spokesperson Jeremy Bunya said the brewing company has focused the past four years on beer development and winning multiple awards for its combination of Mexican ingredients with American craft, rather than TV advertising.

“With the onset of COVID, SouthNorte has pivoted to focusing into off-premise consumption with placements in regional chains, independent liquors stores and even national retailers, including Target, Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods,” Bunya told the Times of San Diego. “With increased investment by John Gallegos and the addition of Breanne Heal, now seemed like the perfect time to help build the brand, bring in television and get some great awareness.”

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The company said the ad campaign, highlighting the brewer’s Sea Senior Mexican Lager product, has been directed by Heal, VP of sales and marketing, who joined SouthNorte in March 2020 after spending the previous nine years with Constellation Brands, a Fortune 500 company that produces and markets beer, wine and spirits.

Constellation has more than 100 brands in its portfolio, including such beer as Corona, Modelo, Especial, Negra Modelo and Pacifico. With Constellation, Heal served as western region marketing manager and San Diego regional development manager. She was recognized with a Marketing Impact Player award from Constellation for her work on the Corona brand. Prior to Constellation, Heal worked for Diageo USA, maker of tequila, whisky and vodka, in distributor sales and field marketing across California.

“Much of the growth in the craft beer scene is being driven by innovation and a risk-taking, entrepreneurial spirit,” said Heal. “Authentic brands, with agile teams, are better poised to build relevancy and connect meaningfully with consumers, and that’s really what attracted me to SouthNorte Beer Co. I’m thrilled to help create the next chapter for this brand beginning with a campaign that uses humor to spotlight Sea Señor Mexican Lager and inspire consumers to be curious about the rich experience of crossing a new frontier in beer, embracing the fluidity of authentic Mexican flavors and the interwoven ‘life on the hyphen’ culture and influence.”

Breanne Heal
Breanne Heal

“In just a short window of time, under Breanne’s leadership, I’m inspired by the momentum SouthNorte is experiencing since her arrival last March,” said Gallegos. “With a focus on extending our territory and creatively introducing our portfolio of award-winning craft beers to a growing, culturally diverse American audience, Breanne’s eclectic energy and sales and marketing prowess in the world of beer, brings a next-level sophistication to our operation, poised to drive new growth and distribution opportunities.”

Gallegos is not only majority owner of SouthNorte but is also CEO of United Collective, the parent company of Gallegos United, PR agency Rox United and digital agency Canvas United. In 2016, Gallegos was part of a partnership that formed SouthNorte.

The TV spot, produced in both English and Spanish, will run from July through September on KNSD NBC 7 San Diego, KSWB Fox 5 San Diego and KBNT Univision 17 with a media buy totaling roughly $75,000, a spokesperson said. The company claims SouthNorte is the first craft beer brand to advertise on Hispanic broadcast television.

The TV spot was created by ad agency Gallegos United and produced by Oakleaf Productions and Lean House Media.

The 30-second spot, titled “The Switch,” begins with a bored young couple sitting on an orange couch. After visiting the refrigerator for a beer, the man returns to the couch, gleefully opens the beer and apparently swears in Spanish with bleeped words. The woman responds romantically to the vulgarity by saying, “Don’t stop talking.” The announcer concludes, “American Craft Meets Mexican Lager. Sea Senor. A New Frontier in Beer.” The players in the spot were Megan Evans and Giovanni Munguia.

SouthNorte brews its three beers in San Diego, as well as Telefonica Gastro Park in Downtown Tijuana.

Southwest Strategies Forms Partnership With Ex-San Marcos Council Member

Chris Orlando
Chris Orlando

Public affairs firm Southwest Strategies announced it has created a strategic partnership with Chris Orlando, a former three-term San Marcos City Council member. A statement said the partnership will provide better service to Southwest Strategies clients in north San Diego County, Orange County and the Inland Empire.

“We’re excited to partner with Chris Orlando to provide strategic public affairs support in some of the fastest growing communities in Southern California,” said Chris Wahl, president of Southwest Strategies. “His long track record of success as an elected official and public affairs practitioner is well recognized throughout the region.”

Orlando has more than 25 years of corporate communications, marketing and public affairs experience, including as co-founder of Fit Pay , a technology platform the enables contactless payment capabilities.

“The opportunity to partner with Southwest Strategies is very exciting for me personally,” said Orlando. “I have long respected and admired their approach to the business and how they have achieved so many accomplishments on behalf of their clients.”

During his tenure on the San Marcos City Council (2006-2018), Orlando served as the city’s representative on the San Diego Association of Governments board of directors, where he served as chair of the Regional Energy Working Group. He also represented San Marcos on the North County Transit District’s board of directors, including service as board chair, vice chair and representative to the Los Angeles, San Diego, San Luis Obispo Rail Corridor Agency.

Southwest Strategies has nearly 50 employees who work at offices in San Diego, Fresno and Sacramento. The firm provides communications strategy and outreach support to clients in transportation, land use, water and energy.

Cox Charities Presents Scholarships to 25 High School Seniors

Cox Charities, the philanthropic arm of Cox Communications, recently awarded $77,000 in scholarships to 25 San Diego County high school seniors to help defray college expenses.

Recipients, who were selected based on commitment to the community and academic success, included: Dagmawit Assaye and Luke Cepurac, La Jolla High School; Gicel Abraham, Zundus Farah and Kevin Vo, Preuss School, La Jolla; Randy Bach, Mt. Carmel High School, Rancho Penasquitos; Angelina Bailey, Mission Hills High School, San Marcos; Kimberly Barrueta, Oceanside High School; Jake Basile, Bonita Vista High School, Chula Vista; Kelly Daugherty, Escondido High School; Kevin Do, El Camino High School, Oceanside; Bryan Garcia, Southwest High School, Otay Mesa; Dawwod George and Neil Mashruwala, Grossmont High School, El Cajon; Luiz Gonzalez, Monte Vista High School, Spring Valley; Anna Hinz, Coronado High School; Way Hlaing, E3 Civic High School, Downtown San Diego; Muhammad Jaafar, Valhalla High School, El Cajon; Gustavo Candia Jaramillo, Hoover High School, San Diego; Luan Nguyen, Lincoln High School, San Diego; Karla Padilla Leon, Olympian High School, Chula Vista; Thavanh Pais, Point Loma High School; Alby Penney, Patrick Henry High School, San Diego; Mackenzie Tassiello, Mater Dei Catholic High School, Chula Vista; and Maya Wesson, San Diego High School of SCITECH, Downtown San Diego.

Cox Charities, funded by employee donations, is overseen by an advisory board consisting of employees who volunteer their time. Cox Charities board members invited the students to participate in video calls to learn about their post-graduation plans and what a scholarship would mean to them. The students were unaware at the start of the calls that they had already been selected as Cox Scholars and were surprised and excited to learn that Cox would be awarding each of them with a scholarship for college.

Radio Stations Supporting ‘Stuff The Bus’ School Supplies Drive

Four iHeart Media San Diego radio stations, including Star 94.1, Channel 93.3, JAM’N 95.7 and KOGO 600-AM, are partnering with the San Diego County Office of Education and San Diego County Credit Union to collect school supplies for students experiencing homelessness as part of the annual “Stuff the Bus” promotion. Online donations can be made through July 31 at the radio stations’ websites or at

Officials said homelessness for school-age children can mean living in a shelter, sharing a residence with multiple families, living in a car or trailer in San Diego County or sharing a room in an apartment with relatives. Homelessness is not limited to urban, downtown San Diego, it also affects suburban school districts all over the county. During the last school year, more than 22,000 children were identified as homeless in San Diego County.

The San Diego County Board of Supervisors launched the program in 2010 with the goal of achieving healthy, safe and thriving communities across the region by partnering with community and city leaders, schools, businesses, nonprofit organizations and residents.

“Families and youth experiencing homelessness need resources and assistance more than ever during this uncertain time,” said Susie Terry, homeless liaison, foster youth and homeless education services, at the county office. “This drive will allow us to lighten the load for these families in one small way. Over the past few years, we have heard from our local schools how much it means to the families to receive these supplies.”

“We encourage the entire San Diego community to support this effort and donate to help set these children up for success in the new school year,” said Teresa Campbell, SDCCU president and CEO. “We are proud to once again partner with the San Diego County Office of Education and iHeartMedia to help make a big difference in the lives of homeless students throughout the county.”

Rick Griffin
Rick Griffin

Rick Griffin is a San Diego-based public relations and marketing consultant. His MarketInk column appears weekly on Mondays in Times of San Diego.