An Open Letter To Temecula (re: 45 day ban on new tasting rooms)

Temecula, I saw that your elected planners have put into motion a 45 day ban on new brewery tasting rooms and expansions while you go on a fact-finding mission. I saw that you were going to look into other cities, and I would like to invite you to Anaheim: a city that was founded by German vintners in 1857 and is now craft beer central for the county.

New breweries are sought out and welcomed by the city of Anaheim. In the last two Mayoral ‘State of the City‘ addresses, Mayor Tait has called out the “brew city” initiative to find ways to actively bring new breweries into the city and to have a well educated city staff that specializes in alcohol issues. The Planning Commission and city staff actively cut red tape to streamline requests to get these positive small businesses running.

Why do they do this? Breweries bring a sense of community, they bring a pub-like atmosphere that’s been long lost in today’s loud, sports-driven bars. Breweries bring an artistic sense of pride to the city, as any award a brewer brings home on the national or regional level shines as a potential tourist opportunity. Breweries bring new jobs, most are family businesses run by neighbors that live in your city, hiring people in the community. These jobs keep money made in Temecula, IN Temecula.

Beer also puts your city as destination, not only just wine, but also great beer. People that enjoy local craft beer spend money on good food, art, and local culture. These aren’t people tailgating with a 30 pack of light flavorless lager causing trouble. These are educated and curious people of all walks of life that want to taste what Temecula is like. Beer brings young people, families, and diversity. People want to know what the beer tastes like there. How the wine is. How the food is. They are there to spend a day in your city, drinking what the locals drink, in a positive manner, spending money in Temecula.

Breweries also give back to the local community, donating product to local festivals that support nonprofit organizations. For example in Anaheim, the OC Fest of Ales festival gives proceeds to Cops 4 Kids; breweries and restaurants donate beer and food for this great cause.

Temecula’s beer and wine industry have a storied past with the Cilurzo family who made wine, and son Vinnie who made beer at The Blind Pig. There’s no beer geek in the country that doesn’t know who makes Blind Pig or Pliny the Elder. Vinnie Cilurzo’s experience with wine barrels helped kick-start a wild and sour beer movement that is now one of the world’s bustling beer fads, all from his experience in Temecula. You all should be proud of that; pay homage to that. OWN that. Sure their beer is now made in Santa Rosa at Russian River Brewing, but the roots are in your town. The breweries open today in Temecula will add to that.

“A 2013 survey by the Sonoma County Economic Development Board found that Pliny the Younger brought almost $2.4 million in economic activity to the area, with about $1.4 million in direct expenditures related to the event. Those figures are likely to go up this year.”*

Giving breweries what they need to responsibly and comfortably house local beer enthusiasts and beer tourists should be a priority of the city. Breweries and wineries bring people into your town that otherwise wouldn’t be there. Small business is the fabric of community, it gets people out of the house to enjoy something that tastes good, and to share ideas face to face, like old times. 

I would like to invite you on a brewery tour in Anaheim and possibly some facetime with Mayor Tait or our Planning Commision. I’m sure you will come away with sense that locally made craft beer is great for your city, and for your community, and growing it will only mean better things for Temecula. 


Greg @OCBeerBlog

(Proud Anaheim resident, beer writer, homebrewer, winemaker, father, and husband of sixteen years.)

Updated 4/22/16: The State Board of Equalization Met with OC Brewers Guild leaders in March and had this to say:

“Business is Brewing in Anaheim – 

Scott Koehm, a representative from the City of Anaheim’s Planning and Building Department, attended the event and explained that the success of these up and coming breweries is largely due to the City’s early partnership and desire to become a destination for fresh, locally-brewed craft beers, much like in San Diego. This cooperation between the City and local small businesses in the region is promoting a unique opportunity for economic growth while simultaneously building on a current trend that is likely to become permanently adopted in our Orange County culture. The experience of meeting with friends or associates and enjoying the newest concocted brew of the week is a social one that many locals have become quite fond of.” See the rest here:

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