1849 Brewery Co. ponders alcohol sales suspension
Employees for 1849 Brewery Company said Wednesday they’ve yet to reach a decision on whether to accept an offer from the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control to suspend alcohol sales for 45 days in lieu of a hearing in which their license could be revoked.
According to 1849 brewmaster Jennifer Telley, before making a decision — required by next week — the business was waiting on the outcome of Tuesday’s Grass Valley Planning Commission meeting, which denied its request to extend evening hours to 2 a.m. seven days a week.
Instead the commission in a 3-to-1 vote, with one abstention, extended the brewery’s morning hours, allowing it to open at 6 a.m.; placed additional conditions on its permit meant to help clear patrons of the general area upon closing; and directed staff to schedule a February hearing, in which the commission will either reconsider the proposal or hold a hearing to revoke its license.
Commissioner Tom Ivy recused himself, stating he had done prior business with the company.
Commissioner Terry McAteer voted against, stating the restrictions on the brewery should be tougher following claims that the Grass Valley Police Department had to respond to the Sutton Way business more than 70 times in one year. According to Grass Valley Police Lt. Joe Matteoni, the department has seen calls to similar establishments six or seven times during the same period.
At the commission meeting Matteoni claimed fights at the 1849 parking lot are so common they are called on nearly a “nightly basis,” and the business operates past its 10 p.m. closing time, sometimes staying open as late as 2 a.m.
“In addition to that, the cooperation we’ve received from these other businesses far exceeds any cooperation that we’ve received from 1849,” Matteoni said. “They just haven’t cooperated with us at all.”
Brewery manager Kevin Krikorian did not dispute staying open past closing time, but took issue with the claims that there were frequent fights in the parking lot.
“According to our security logs and security, there were no events that happened in our parking lot,” Krikorian said.
Telley said since the reopening during the pandemic, the brewery has drawn in a younger crowd and the staff has tried their best to quickly adapt.
“They extended our (morning) hours, which is positive,” Telley said. “We’re excited to try something different for our community.”
According to Matteoni, city and police officials have met the brewery owners at least twice in the last month to mitigate the issues, but they’ve seen no improvement.
Matteoni said the department compiled the complaints and calls, and forwarded them to the state Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control, which opened its own case on the brewery.
“We’re not trying to shut them down, we’re trying to gain compliance,” Matteoni said. “We’ve tried to gain compliance by contacting them, by talking to them and it didn’t work, so now we’re taking the next step.”
Police officials said they did not object to extending morning hours because most of the issues have come at night.
Grass Valley Police Chief Alex Gammelgard said the extended morning hours could be a trial run for the establishment’s compliance as it has had less calls in recent weeks.
“In the last two weeks we have begun to see an improvement, although I’m not in a position to feel two weeks is enough to create a pattern,” Gammelgard said. “It may be a data point, but not a trend.”
To contact Staff Writer John Orona, email email@example.com or call 530-477-4229.
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