It has been a very exciting week around here for me and Vinnie and our entire brewery family! This past Thursday we closed escrow on our new brewery property in Windsor! Some of you who also follow us on Facebook may have already heard the news. But our BLOG readers are going to get the full scoop…
We have been looking for a very long time (like a couple of years) to find the right property here in Sonoma County. First and foremost, we were ready to own, not lease, and that limited our search by quite a bit. But, alas, the Windsor property that we previously looked at finally came available for sale. Nearly 15 acres of bare land on the southern end of Windsor is the perfect spot for us to build our dream brewery! The new Windsor Russian River will include: a production brewery with the capacity to brew up to 50,000 barrels, tasting room, gift shop, guided and self-guided tours, and a larger brewpub with lots of outside seating! And FREE and ample parking! The final straw in making this decision was seeing how incredibly busy our brewpub has become. Uncomfortable busy at times. We don’t love seeing the long lines out the door every weekend. And it is a bummer running into old customers around town who just can’t get in anymore. So nothing will change at our Santa Rosa pub, other than we hope to relieve some pressure and see some of our old customers come back!
In regards to timing, this is going to take a couple of years to build. The Town of Windsor has graciously welcomed us with open arms! But these things still take time, especially in California. The schedule, as of today, has us breaking ground in Spring 2017 and completing construction Summer 2018. Our current production is 16,000 barrels between two breweries. The Windsor brewery will take us to 25,000-30,000 barrels initially with the ability to grow organically as we like to do. This will allow us more flexibility with taking on some new accounts/markets in California and providing more beer to our current wholesalers (all 5 of them!) and their customers. Oregon, Colorado, and Philadelphia will also get more beer!
Our number 1 most frequently asked question is “do you offer tours?”. Neither of our current breweries is safe to have visitors anywhere within the brewery. Now we have the opportunity to design a brewery with people and tours in mind, making it a fun, educational, and safe experience for all! And if you have ever been to our pub in Santa Rosa, you know that our current gift shop is an area that was previously customer seating and kind of small. Looking forward to having a REAL gift shop with plenty of cool stuff and beer for sale!
Also new to us in Windsor will be a tasting room. Just want to grab a couple of tastes and some growlers to go?Then that’s the spot for you!
Finally, how many of you have heard us say that we are a ONE restaurant family? Well, you heard it here first, never say never, I suppose. But this is our opportunity to make it the way we want from the ground up. We will have an awesome and completely different menu, lots of outside seating, a pet friendly area, and plenty of FREE parking for cars, motorcycles and bicycles! The cool thing about our new property, too, is that it butts right up to the railroad tracks for the new SMART commuter train. Perhaps one day we will convince them to put in a "Russian River" stop! And it is just a few minutes from STS, the Sonoma County Airport.
Well, I think that covers it for now. Still many unanswered questions for us that will come clear as the project evolves. Thank you for being my loyal BLOG readers all these years! So old-school like me!