Savanna Saldate of Borderlands Brewing Company (Photo by Taylor Noel Photography)

Nine on the Line: Savanna Saldate of Borderlands Brewing Co.

By Jessie Mance
By Jessie Mance
May 17, 2023

Savanna Saldate is about as close to the core of the Tucson craft beer scene as one can get.  

This Tucson native cut her teeth in the industry as a beertender at the nurturing craft beer incubator otherwise known as Crooked Tooth Brewing Company. Saldate’s next upward step on the sudsy ladder took her to Borderlands Brewing Company, where she has held almost every position in the brewhouse, from cellaring, brewing, distribution, taproom orders, line cleaning, and general warehouse organization. 

Savanna Saldate (Photo courtesy of Borderlands Brewing Company)

“If it has to do with production for Borderlands I’ve done it,” Saldate said with pride. 

She is nearing her fifth year at Borderlands, serves as their Lead Brewer, and is in training to graduate into the primo Head Brewer position. It’ll all come to fruition once current Head Brewer, Ayla Kapahi, officially takes on the large task of managing Borderland’s new satellite taprooms as Director of Operations.  

Saldate’s head-to-toe immersion in the production side of the brewery, as well as her passion for the end product, are the reasons why those Borderlands beers are just so dang tasty.

Savanna Saldate & Ayla Kapahi (Photo courtesy of Borderlands Brewing Company)
1. What was the first beer that changed your perspective on beer?

The first beer that really changed my perspective was Bell's Two Hearted Ale. It is an American IPA that uses only Centennial Hops which gives it a unique and bitter flavor that I had never tasted before.

2. What are you drinking these days?  

This question always makes me chuckle because, depending on the day, I really just want a cold Rolling Rock. Craft beer-wise, my go-to right now is Pure Project’s Rain Pilsner. It's a little floral, super dry, and so easy-drinking!

3. What is one bar or kitchen tool, ingredient, or tool of your trade, you use that you would recommend to everyone? 

Good hose nozzles! I cannot stress enough how impactful the hose nozzle is in my everyday work life. It’s such a seemingly simple tool, but as often as I use it throughout my day it will really make or break my mood. My go-to is the one and only Strahman M-70

4. What style, ingredient, or beer trend are you most excited about these days?

The beer trend that I’ve really been most excited about lately is all of the N-A (non-alcohol) beer rolling out. It seems like every day I hear about or see a new non-alcohol option available, and I’m really excited about the future of this industry being more inclusive for non-drinkers. From beer to seltzer to tea and beyond, N-A is making a big entrance.

5. Who (living/dead/real/fictional) would you most like to have a beer with?  

Hands down my Oma. Oma is German for grandmother and though she is no longer with us, having come from one of the best beer-producing countries on the planet, I know I’d be guaranteed an amazing beer. Also, I’d hear about the amazing history of the country that helped shape my career from a woman who helped shape my life. 

6. What city, other than Tucson, is your favorite place to explore the local craft beer scene and why?

My favorite city outside of Tucson to explore beer in is Detroit. I love many breweries throughout Michigan, and Detroit really is a hub for getting all of that great Michigan beer in one city. 

7. What do you like most about working in the local craft beer industry?

Easy — the beer. Kidding.

Honestly, my favorite part of working in this industry is seeing first-hand the collective efforts it takes to create this product — beertenders, sales associates, production employees, management teams, distribution companies, maintenance teams, and ownership. I really could go on forever about the list of people that make this industry possible and get that beer in your glass. And, the bonus is so many hard-working people mean so many great friends and peers I am so privileged to know.

8. Which three Tucson bars, breweries, or restaurants do you frequent the most, other than your place of work?

Casa Video and Film Bar- Old-school movies, great beer selection, and great staff. Need I say more? 

Tough Luck Club - Unique cocktails or a good old “Special” — Coors Banquet and a shot of whiskey. 

Tucson Hop Shop - Not only mine and my dog’s favorite patio in Tucson but my favorite place to support all of the amazing causes and important events they host. 

9. If you could only have one beer (or one style of beer) for the rest of your life, what would it be? And what meal would you pair it with?

The tried and true lager. Has the flavor and easy drinking ability I look for in a forever beer style. Pair it with some pizza and I’d give you just about anything. 

Savanna Saldate of Borderlands Brewing Company (Photo by Taylor Noel Photography)

Borderlands Brewing Company is located at 119 E. Toole Ave. and 2500 E. Sixth St. For more information, visit

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Jessie Jean Mance was born in Tucson and never met a riparian area she didn’t like. She is a lover of lightning, sunsets, mezcal, music, and other intoxicating experiences. Mance resolutely believes that fresh air is medicine, burritos are the...

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