Two California breweries see wine country as fertile ground for future beer operations.
Last week, Stone Brewing and Fieldwork Brewing Co. each announced plans to open locations in Napa. Escondido-based Stone will renovate a downtown building and open a taproom in 2017, and Berkeley-based Fieldwork plans to open a tasting room in the Oxbow Public Market this fall. More than 400 wineries operate in the Napa Valley, but only a handful of breweries—Downtown Joe’s Brewery and Restaurant, Napa Smith Brewery and Napa Valley Brewing Co.—call it home.
“Napa is a sophisticated marketplace,” says Barry Braden, a co-founder of Fieldwork. “The level of artisan food and wine and the culture there lends itself well to our beers. We think we’ll be a great fit for the community.”
Braden says Fieldwork, which will continue to brew exclusively in Berkeley, will occupy a small space in the front of the market. Customers will be able to drink at the bar or throughout the market, which is a common space. The market’s tenants include Hog Island Oyster Co., Napa Valley Distillery and Oxbow Cheese and Wine Merchant.
Stone has more expansive plans for its Napa location. Stone Brewing Tap Room – Napa will house a 10-barrel pilot brewing system, a restaurant and an outdoor seating area. Stone is taking over the Borreo building, which dates to 1877 and has been vacant since 2001.
In a press release announcing the plans, Stone Brewing CEO & co-founder Greg Koch said the building is a perfect place for Stone to put down roots because it’s a Napa landmark and the building is “literally made of stone.”
“I’m a huge Napa fan,” said Koch, in the release. “I’ve been visiting for more than 20 years and I first toured through the Borreo Building nearly five years ago. We’ve tried a few times to make something happen there, and are thrilled to finally see it come to fruition!”
This summer, Stone also plans to open Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens – Berlin. And Stone’s brewery in Richmond, Virginia, will begin supplying beer in July.
Fieldwork’s Napa location will be the second of up to six satellite tasting rooms that Fieldwork plans to open in California. Another tasting room is set to open this July in Sacramento, and Braden hopes to announce the other locations this summer.
“This is the most appropriate model for what we do, rotating beers frequently and bringing those hoppy beers on draft and in growlers to consumers,” Braden says. “We want to give consumers fresh beer and make sure that they haven’t been on the shelves for too long.”
Fieldwork is aiming to open in Napa by Oct. 1.
Jon Page is the Managing Editor of All About Beer Magazine.