Craft beer is growing out of industrial parks and into urban neighborhoods.
There’s a pronounced trend of new, old, big and small breweries alike opening satellite tasting rooms in walkable commercial areas — Stone Brewery, Modern Times, Belching Beaver, Rip Current, Twisted Manzanita, Iron Fist, Border X and Lost Abbey have all done it or are in the process of doing it.
The tasting rooms help address one issue that could affect the industry’s continued growth: They allow the businesses to meet customers where they are, rather than relying on people coming to them.
“There are a certain number of people willing to drive anywhere, but there are more people looking to have that experience closer to home or work,” said Vince Vasquez, a policy analyst at the National University System Institute for Policy Research who wrote a report on breweries’ local economic impact.
They also come with a nice profit margin — by selling their own product directly, breweries are effectively cutting out distributors and bars.
The proliferation of tasting rooms in the city’s core is thanks in part to a piece of language in the alcohol vendors’ license most breweries have that makes it easier to get approval for additional locations.
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One potential problem is when a bar causes problems, there aren't any effective, cost-efficient ways to rein them in. If a bar (tasting room, restaurant, hookah lounge...same thing) overserves customers, for instance, there is no threat to their license.
Don't take my word for it. Go to the ABC website, and review the news releases about license suspensions and revocations. You'll find that licenses are never (as in, not ever) suspended or revoked for overservice. I've reviewed hundreds of press releases and have yet to find a single such action against any alcohol outlet.
And the regulations...print 'em up and put it in a big stack and what do you have?
A paper tiger. And the licensees know it.
Any low-life who wants to open a bar can simply declare himself a brewer. (There is one such operation already in PB.) The state laws that limit the number of alcohol licenses do no apply to breweries...so a "brewery" can get a license in an area where a "restaurant" or "bar" cannot.
The good news is the the overwhelming majority of new brewers really are good operators. But the same statement applies to bars and restaurants in PB, North Park, and Hillcrest. Yet every year, more and more of our police resources are committed to those areas in order to keep a lid on crime committed by drunks. The current regulator state is an abject failure.
@omarpassons Interesting. Have there been any "bad actors" whose behavior threatens the spread of tasting rooms?
@peterroweut I am not aware of any, and we have 3 dupes near me. Bar owners may have thoughts, tho
@omarpassons I'm wondering about neighborhood watch type groups. They can be prickly -- and often for reason.
@peterroweut Not a peep in my neck of the woods about dupes. And I am connected to most neighborhood watch folks here
Like this - different angle on the craft beer story. Would like to see some commentary from bars near these tasting rooms and some of the conflict resulting. Have seen a few mentions of this and wonder if it will grow as more tasting rooms open, pitting retail vs. manufacturers now in retail.
This piece lays out the issues fairly well. I imagine a second part featuring some of the folks who are less than thrilled with duplicate Type 23s will be soon to follow. I went to Amplified in PB a couple months ago and it kind of highlights the difference between operators who focus on craft beer and those who don't. The brewer told me that they'd never had a police call for drunken antics or fighting or other typical negative behaviors that some associate with some bars. I've never seen such behavior at Tiger!Tiger! or Station Tavern or Toronado, either. Doesn't mean it doesn't happen, of course, but absent some proof that this more straight forward standard is causing a problem I say adding to the costs and uncertainty isn't worth it. To Jacob's point, though, while ease may not be a driver, the 6 months to a year, with appeal rights, and attorney costs and so forth associated with Neighborhood Use Permits just might be a barrier to entry.
@andy_keatts Proud to finally be quoted as an expert on the behavior of terrible people. Also, we prefer "SportLoma" or "MidSport"
@andy_keatts now, we hike, eat, and are considering gaming again.
@andy_keatts back in my drinking days, I didn't need me no tasting room. I was content with a bar.