Santa Monicans might be able to drink a Santa Monica beer in Santa Monica if the Planning Commission approves an application from Santa Monica Brew Works for a tasting room at the company’s existing Colorado Avenue production facility.
The brewery has requested a Conditional Use Permit to allow for a 112-seat indoor beer sampling area with on-site sale and consumption of beer. The discussion will happen tonight as part of the regular meeting.
Owners said the tasting room is more about marketing and education than drinking.
“We want the tasting room to be an extension of the brewery where people can learn about the brewing process, and taste our beer while looking at the equipment in which it was made,” said co-owner Scott Francis. “We want it to be a friendly place where people come to talk about beer and Santa Monica, and enjoy one another’s company. Its hours of operation will be limited. It is not going to be a bar or restaurant.”
He said the company is first and foremost a production brewery and its business plan remains focused on building the brand. So far, its beers are available in 170 bars, restaurants and hotels, including many local establishments. The beer is also on tap at Dodger Stadium, Staples Center, The Forum in Inglewood, Hollywood Bowl and Los Angeles International Airport. The company recently entered into a distribution arrangement with Young’s Market Company.
“A tasting room has become almost a necessity in the craft beer business as a means to promote your brand,” he said. “For us, the tasting room gives people the opportunity to view firsthand how and where we brew our beer. It allows the consumer to connect our great product with the City of Santa Monica.”
Santa Monica Brew Works opened in May 2014, started brewing in June and released its first batches of beer in early July.
Former music executive and attorney Francis, agent Richard Super and former Ye Olde King’s Head bartender Carl Sharpley saw an opportunity to fill a void in Santa Monica with locally produced beer and started Santa Monica Brew Works. Also on board is head brewer and Santa Monica native Drew Pomatti.
Santa Monica Brew Works currently has five styles of beer: 310 California Blonde Ale; PCH (Pale Chocolate Heaven); Modern Witbier; XPA (Xtra Pale Ale); and Inclined IPA.
The proposed tasting room will only serve beer made on site and will be open afternoons and evenings (Monday-Thursday from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m., Friday from 6 p.m. to midnight, Saturday from noon to midnight and Sunday from noon to 8 p.m.).
Parking will be provided through the use of existing shared on-site spaces.
According to the staff report, service will be provided at a single counter. Customers will order and pay at the counter and take their items to nearby tables. There will not be table service. Food service is not proposed, although small snack items may be available for purchase. The bar area will have a view of the beer manufacturing areas to allow customers to view the equipment used in the manufacturing, bottling and beer storage operations.
Off-site sales will be limited to half-gallon “growlers” purchased at the brewery or brought in for refills by the customers.
Francis said the tasting room deepens the company’s existing local roots while providing a platform to promote the company and city.
“We are a bunch of beer enthusiasts who love Santa Monica,” he said. “We are proud to provide jobs in the City, and be one of the few businesses that provide manufacturing jobs. Our head brewer was born, raised and attended school here, and almost all of our employees are local. We see ourselves as partners with the City — we support local charitable causes and work with the Santa Monica Travel and Tourism and Chamber of Commerce organizations with local events when asked. Our goal is to create a business that reflects the best of Santa Monica — we want people everywhere in the world to recognize just how special our beer and the City are.”
The Planning Commission will meet at 7 p.m. June 15 in City Hall, 1685 Main St.