Monday, October 9, 2017

Time To Get Angry

I missed this Brandon Hernandez article on Little Miss Brewing's Ocean Beach blindside on the West Coaster website last month, but read the full article over the weekend in the West Coaster magazine.  Little Miss Brewing was back stabbed during its application process as it built its tasting room on Newport Avenue in Ocean Beach.  According to the article, during Little Miss's original thirty-day public comment period, initial public complaints related to the proposed tasting rooms were raised and then addressed by Little Miss Brewing.  Unknown to Little Miss Brewing, a second "private meeting had been held without their (Little Miss's owners) notification or knowledge in late-April - outside of the public-protest period - between ABC supervisors, representatives of the San Diego Police Department, a State Assembly member, and additional OB residents not in favor of the tasting room."  After this secret meeting the San Diego Police Department said it would not support the Little Miss Brewing tasting room and the ABC would not vote against the police.  The ABC waited months to inform Little Miss Brewing of the permit rejection.

What is the point of the ABC if the police decide what permits to issue?   The police claim an increase in alcohol related crimes in its Western Patrol Division led to its decision to reject Little Miss's application, but this Patrol Division, in addition to Ocean Beach, encompasses diverse neighborhoods including Linda Vista, Western Mission Valley, Midway District, University Heights, and the neighborhoods of Point Loma.  The area impacting Little Miss Brewing, Ocean Beach, has seen alcohol related crime drop by 40% since Culture Brewing opened the first tasting room in Ocean Beach in November 2014.  The leading alcohol-related crime in Ocean Beach is open containers on the beach, not drunks stumbling out of brewery tasting rooms.   

I want to know the other OB residents that attended the private meeting.  Were the OB residents owners of bars on Newport Avenue, and are private meetings regular procedure for beer licenses?   If the police are interested in stopping all alcohol related crimes, why not just pull all alcohol licenses, or delay the permitting process so long that businesses close.  Don't try to tell me that Ocean Beach has too many tasting rooms, let the market sort that out.  Don't submarine breweries through private meetings and backroom deals. 

It appeared to me that Little Miss had spent big money building out its tasting room, and it looked nearly ready to open when the For Lease sign went up around Labor Day.  The State or City owe Little Miss a full explanation and repayment for its costs, especially since this decision was made at least four months ago.  Little Miss should not have to pay for cowardly actions.

I said in my previous post that tasting rooms have improved Newport Avenue.  Since Culture opened in November 2014, I have never seen anyone sloppy drunk in any of the tasting rooms I have visited.  For comparison, I have been in Newport Pizza after 10:00 pm, and it routinely has some properly smashed patrons.  The scene at the western end of Newport Avenue, which no tasting rooms, only the OB Brewery, is much wilder than the eastern end of Newport Avenue where the tasting rooms are located.  There is more to this story, and something foul is behind it.   All breweries in San Diego need to view this decision as an immediate threat to their businesses.

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