Tonight, Smog City Brewing had their hearing in front of the Torrance Planning Commission for a Conditional Use Permit to open a tasting room in Torrance. If you want to look it up, it was CUP12-00015. As we were given three minutes and I was pretty nervous, my comments ended up being edited slightly at the last minute; but the following is my comments in their entirety. Oh, they were granted the permit and will hopefully be open in February and on the Business & Beer rotation soon thereafter.
My name is Lloyd Brown. I have been a Torrance and South Bay resident since 1964. I graduated from Seaside Elementary in 1967 and Bishop Montgomery High School in 1971.
My past includes being involved with Cub Scout Pack 948 as a den leader, a coach for several AYSO seasons, a Torrance Little League coach and umpire and I have been honored by the Edison School PTA for my volunteer work with them.
I have owned my home in Torrance since 1985 and I am the Director of Business Development for Synergy DTI, Inc, a Torrance Area Chamber of Commerce member. I am the blogger behind GotBaddog.com which concentrates its efforts on promoting local business and non-profits. I am also a co-founder of Business & Beer and I am an advocate for American craft beers.
I am here in support of granting Smog City Brewing a Conditional Use Permit to open a tasting room here in Torrance.
The American craft beer scene is growing rapidly. One only need look around to see communities such as Vista, or the entire San Diego County area for that matter. Micro breweries are springing up everywhere and Torrance looks to be the newest craft beer Mecca. I could not be happier.
In preparing what I was going to talk about I did a little research; my primary question was, “why not?”
Apparently there is some concern that these micro brewery tasting rooms are going to evolve into a bunch of beer bars. As difficult as it may be to imagine, in my past I have spent a little time in a beer bar or two. I have also visited micro brewery tasting rooms up and down the state of California and all over the United States and not once have I entered one that came off as a beer or sports bar. That is exactly the opposite of what a craft beer drinker is seeking; and from the conversations I have had with numerous micro brewery owners, that is not what they seek either. Most of them are doing it for the love of the craft; which is reflected in the quality of the brews they come up with.
Craft beer drinkers go to micro breweries to enjoy the freshness of the beers and an opportunity to talk to the brewers and learn more about the art. Most brewers seem to enjoy this interaction with their customers. Craft beer drinkers are not coming to a tasting room to watch TV and get drunk. Interaction between customers is much more common and the conversations seem to be more in-depth as they discuss the different brews they have tried. Strangers become acquaintances then friends as a result of American craft beer.
Allowing more craft brewers to open tasting rooms in Torrance is a good thing for Torrance. In addition to the direct tax revenues from the tasting rooms themselves, there are new businesses that are opening as a result of the influx of micro breweries. Beer tasting tours similar to the wine tours of Sonoma are already popping up. I personally know and have met people that entertain themselves by traveling around the state visiting as many micro breweries as possible. This results in their staying at local hotels and eating at local restaurants. It is true trickle down economics.
Who knows, maybe that next Conditional Use Permit will result in the next Stone Brewing, Anchor Steam or Anheuser-Busch. Imagine the tax revenues that would bring in.
Thank you for your consideration. This long time voter appreciates your time.