San Diego city planners will likely delay a decision on 10 Barrel Brewing Co.’s application to build a downtown brewpub in the California city until opponents air their objections.
Four people, three of them craft-beer enthusiasts with beer-oriented blogs or podcasts, by Thursday had weighed in on 10 Barrel’s plans for a brewpub in the city’s East Village neighborhood. All four oppose the project because 10 Barrel, based in Bend, is a property of corporate beverage giant Anheuser-Busch InBev, said James Alexander, an assistant planner with Civic San Diego.
One opponent, Brian Beagle, contributes to a podcast, San Diego BeerTalk Radio.
“The overriding opinion is, don’t open up a brewhouse here. Stay where you’re at or go somewhere else,” he said Thursday. “It does not need to be in San Diego, not with the number of (local, independent) brewers we have.”
Garrett Wales, a founding partner at 10 Barrel, declined comment Thursday, referring instead to a prepared statement: “We’re stoked to explore other cities that might make sense for building a pub experience, but haven’t made any final decision yet in San Diego. We’ll share details when we can.”
Ownership does not factor into a decision to grant 10 Barrel a permit, Alexander said. However, because the agency received objections, the Downtown Community Planning Council will likely hold a public hearing Feb. 17 on 10 Barrel’s plans, he said. The hearing is not yet officially on the agenda, he said Friday.
10 Barrel applied for a permit to renovate a vacant building at E and 15th streets. Zoning codes allow a brewpub there, but 10 Barrel needs a permit to add rooftop and ground-level dining areas for a total of 10,450 square feet.
The East Village neighborhood is a collection of businesses and former industrial properties undergoing a redevelopment push, Alexander said. San Diego Police Department headquarters are kitty-corner from the proposed brewpub site. An existing brewpub, Monkey Paw Brewing, already occupies a spot on an adjoining block.
San Diego has more than 110 breweries. The recent sale of two of them — Saint Archer and Ballast Point — to larger corporations left local craft beer drinkers bitter, said Mike Pratt, who blogs about the San Diego beer scene on apintofhoppiness.com. He also logged an objection against 10 Barrel with the city.
“You know, as more time has gone on and big beer has become more intrusive into craft beer, it started to bother me more and more,” Pratt said Friday. “I’ve grown tired of it, really.”
Pratt, Beagle and Cody Thompson, who blogs on threebzine.com about San Diego food, music and beer and who also filed an objection, said they prefer to spend their money on locally produced beer, rather than see those dollars taken out of the community by another large corporation.
Anheuser-Busch owns six other craft brewers: Goose Island in Chicago; Blue Point on Long Island, New York; Elysian Brewing Co., of Seattle; Four Peaks Brewing, of Arizona; Breckenridge Brewery, of Colorado; and Camden Town Brewery, based in the United Kingdom.
In addition to its Bend brewpub and one each in Portland and Boise, Idaho, 10 Barrel has leased property in Denver’s River North district with plans for a brewpub. The company has not yet filed detailed plans for renovating that property, Denver planning staff said Friday.
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