Last beer firm is tapped out |

Last beer firm is tapped out

The owners of Gold Cities Beverage Corp., Nevada County’s only locally based beer distributor, have sold their franchise to a Loomis firm and will close their Grass Valley facility today.

Ten of Gold Cities’ 13 employees, mostly sales and delivery personnel, will join Nor-Cal Beverage Co. of Loomis, the Anheuser-Busch distributor for Placer and El Dorado counties.

The other employees are either retiring or moving on to other jobs, said Gold Cities co-owner Cheri Flanigan.

“We’re selling because it’s the right time,” said Flanigan, who has owned the business with her husband, Michael, for the past 12 years.

“Michael wants to go fishing, but I don’t want to use the word ‘retire’ – we’re not that old.”

Gold Cities, which was in business more than 50 years, was the distributor for Anheuser-Busch, Sierra Nevada and Guinness beers in Nevada County. The business also sold Nevada City Pure Mountain Spring Water.

The operation did most of its business in the western county, with some customers in Truckee, Cheri Flanigan said. Nor-Cal had most of the business in the Truckee area, she said.

Tim Deary, vice president of beer operations for Nor-Cal, said his company approached the Flanigans about selling six months ago. He said Nor-Cal views the acquisition as a natural extension of the territory currently served by the distributor.

Nor-Cal was founded in 1937 and has distributed soft drinks – Dr. Pepper, Snapple, Squirt and other brands – in Nevada County for several years. The firm also distributes several brands of imported beers, including Bass, Becks and Heineken.

Chuck Eades, owner of Bunce’s Place in Grass Valley, said Tuesday he’s holding off judgment on the new distributor.

“I’m going to miss (Gold Cities),” he said. “They provided excellent service. The new guys might be as good, but they won’t be better.”

A clerk at a local liquor store, who didn’t want himself or the business identified, was less optimistic.

“A lot of people are kind of upset about this,” he said. “We won’t be able to get a keg here right away. If we called up the hill for one, they could get it here in a heartbeat. That won’t happen from Loomis.”

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