Stephanie Eppig '06

Owner + Founder

Wednesday, February 27, 2019TOPICS: Alumni

USD alumna Stephanie Eppig popping out of a barrel at her brewery, Eppig Brewery
begin quoteJ & L Eppig Brewing first opened its doors in San Diego’s North Park neighborhood. “We knew that if we were going to resurrect a family legacy, we were going to have to do it the right way,” Stephanie said.

Eppig Brewing

For USD School of Business alumna Stephanie Eppig, the idea of continuing her great-great-grandfather’s legacy was one that had been brewing in her family for some time. But between graduating with her degree in business from USD, leading the marketing efforts of some of the world’s most well-known brands, competing in 14 triathlons and raising more than $45,000 for cancer research, the idea of starting San Diego’s only waterfront craft brewery wasn’t exactly at the top of her to-do list.

Taking a much-needed step back over jazz and cocktails one evening, Stephanie and her husband Todd got to talking about their future. Little did they know they had similar ideas.  

“We were talking about what we wanted to do and where we wanted to go, and my husband said he wanted to open a craft brewery, not knowing my family’s history,” Stephanie recalled. “That’s where things took a big turn.”

Stephanie’s great-great-grandfather Leonhard Eppig emigrated from Germany to America as a teenager in the late 1800s. He ended up in Brooklyn, New York, where he established the Eppig Brewing Empire in the 1880s with his two brothers, Leonhard and Joseph. After his death in 1888, his son Leonard took over the business, and the brewery thrived until prohibition took effect in 1920. Fast-forward to 2016, when J & L Eppig Brewing first opened its doors in San Diego’s North Park neighborhood – 150 years after the family business was established in New York City. A waterfront biergarten in Point Loma would soon follow.

“We knew that if we were going to resurrect a family legacy, we were going to have to do it the right way,” Stephanie said.

When it comes to making beer, the right way is the one that produces the highest quality, best-tasting product. And while a lot of it has to do with the science of the craft itself – for which they elicited the expertise of some of San Diego’s world-class brewers – it turns out a lot of it is business. And business, Stephanie knew.  

“As a marketing major at the USD School of Business, I never thought I would use accounting again in my life,” she said. “But now that I’m dealing with things like supply chain flow, operations management and financials, I am so grateful to have had those classes.”

Born in San Diego and raised in Annapolis, Maryland, Stephanie began her undergraduate studies on the East Coast. But after completing her first semester, she couldn’t help but feel it wasn’t the right fit. That’s when she set her sights on USD.  

“As soon as I took the campus tour, I knew that USD was it,” she said. “Obviously it’s a beautiful school, but what really attracted me were the small class sizes and friendly interactions with the people I met.”

Stephanie’s then-budding passion for marketing and brand management was further solidified by USD’s globally-rich curriculum, study abroad opportunities and the encouragement of professors like Dr. Robin McCoy. “She was a fantastic mentor to me, even when I was no longer her student,” Stephanie said.

Beyond the support she received from professors and the friendships she developed with her fellow students, there was one class in particular that Stephanie said really sealed the deal – and helped her land her first job as a consultant for a global marketing firm in New York.

“I didn’t have much in my portfolio, so I presented the project I had done in my marketing research class, which involved conducting research for a local business in San Diego” she said. “When I met with the CEO of the company, he told me that project was equivalent to one year of work experience and hired me on the spot.”

In that role, Stephanie advised high-profile, Fortune 500 clients such as Procter & Gamble, Campbell Soup Company and Toyota, which later hired her as part of its in-house marketing team. And while Stephanie has come a long way since that first post-graduation interview, she continues to draw on her experience at USD as she brings new life to the legacy her great-great-grandfather started all those years ago.  

“Before I came to USD, I couldn’t have imagined that my career would be bringing back my family’s history and sharing it with people every day,” she said.


Renata Ramirez
(619) 260-4658