Brewery coming to Alameda Point

Brewery coming to Alameda Point

Michele Ellson

Alameda Point’s Monarch Street is a growing attraction for lovers of wine and fine spirits. And this spring, craft beer fans will have a home there, too.

The City Council on Tuesday okayed a lease that will allow the brand-new Faction Brewing Company to occupy half of a former hangar next door to St. George Spirits. In addition to the production brewery, which will be run by Drake’s and Triple Rock Brewery alum Rodger Davis and his wife, Claudia, the facilities include a taproom and store.

“Alameda had always been a dream of ours. We didn’t think it would be a reality,” Claudia Davis said after the quick 5-0 vote. “We’re just really, really excited.”

A few of Alameda’s many homebrewers came to Tuesday’s meeting to echo that sentiment – and to urge council members to sign off on the lease deal.

“I’m really please that a brewery is coming to the Point,” resident Anna Jungles said.

Rodger Davis left Triple Rock in January, after the couple decided they were going to pursue a longtime desire to open their own brewery. Claudia Davis said they had been looking at possible locations in Richmond but that they ultimately decided that wasn’t where they wanted to set up shop.

Alameda’s city leaders had determined nearly a year earlier that they wanted a microbrewery in Building 22 of what they’re calling “Spirits Alley,” and they began looking for one to occupy the space. City staffers attended a craft brewers conference in March 2011, but didn’t find any takers for the space; it was then posted on the website of the city’s Alameda Point agent, PM Realty, as being perfect for a brewery.

Claudia Davis said she found the listing in a late-night Internet search and that the couple “put everything we had” into getting the space. Faction has a five-year lease on the space, at 2501 Monarch Street, with two five-year options to continue there. After the first three months of the lease have passed, they’ll pay $12,025 a month in rent, an amount that will grow to $13,000 a month for the final 12 months of their first five years.

The couple will spend the next few months getting permits to perform construction on the 32,500 square feet they’ll occupy and on obtaining their liquor license from the state. Davis said she’s hopeful the brewery will be open for business in the spring.

They’ll also be shipping brewery equipment purchased from Captain Lawrence Brewery in New York, which moved to new digs a few years ago and agreed to sell their old stainless steel equipment to Faction.

Faction plans to produce 8,000 barrels of beer a year, with their initial offerings including Pilsner, Stout, Pale Ale, IPA and Red beers. And Davis said they’ve already touched base with their new neighbors; the couple are longtime friends with the distillers at St. George.

“We couldn’t be happier,” Davis said.

The lease deal comes as the city pushes forward with its planning process for redeveloping Alameda Point. Earlier Tuesday evening, the council signed off on an environmental impact report and a needs assessment for streets and sidewalks, water pipes and other infrastructure that’s anticipated to cost $1.5 million.

City Planner Andrew Thomas said the plans and zoning changes underway are intended to prepare the property for development and to make it as easy as possible for a developer to step in and build there. He said the reuse plan city leaders are working to activate “is all about bringing jobs back to Alameda Point.” The items approved Tuesday are set to be completed by early 2014.

In addition to the Faction Brewing lease, Nanette Mocanu of the city’s Community Development Department, said the city is in “confidential negotiations” with “another spirit use.”