The craft beers and spirits industries have been expanding in the North Bay, evidenced by established makers’ opening new locations, old favorites’ introducing new recipes, and plans being made for the future.
Santa Rosa-based Russian River Brewing Co. is putting the final touches on its second brewpub, which will open next month in Windsor, at the corner of Conde and Mitchell lanes north of Shiloh Road, according to the company.
“Our approximately 180-seat brewpub will feature a more diverse menu than our downtown Santa Rosa location, including burgers, fried chicken, and tasty salads with produce from our own kitchen garden,” the company said on its website. “Our tasting room will have eight to 10 of our most popular beers for a quick taste and growlers filled quickly so you can be on your way.”
Entering the North Bay marketplace for the first time is Escondido-based Stone Brewing, which in May opened a 9,500-square-foot restaurant and 10-barrel brewery in the historic Borreo building on Third Street and Soscol Avenue in downtown Napa, according to the company.
Stone Brewing restored the stone structure, built in 1877 and vacant since 2001. It proved to be a complex yet rewarding process, according to Greg Koch, Stone Brewing executive chairman and co-founder.
“Seven years after I first stepped foot in the Borreo building, this place is just what I dreamed of — a top-notch destination devoted to celebrating craft beer,” Koch said in a statement.
Some of Stone Brewing’s beer recipes include wine grapes, as well as botanicals from the region’s diverse ecology, the company said. The brewery also features a rotation of 24 taps of beer from fellow craft brewers, it said. Stone Brewing also has breweries in downtown San Diego at Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens – Liberty Station; in Richmond, Virginia; and in Berlin.
The craft brewery market overall seems to be lifting the spirits of its parent industry, according to the Brewers Association, a 501(c)(6) not-for-profit trade association.
National overall beer volume sales in 2017 were down 1 percent, with the exception of craft brewer sales, which continued to grow at a rate of 5 percent by volume, reaching 12.7 percent of the U.S. beer market by volume, according to the trade group. It also noted craft production grew the most for microbreweries.
The trade group stated that at the close of 2017, there were 6,207 breweries operating in the U.S., led by California, which houses 764 breweries, followed by the state of Washington with 369 breweries.
And Northern California is leading the way when it comes to innovative brews.
On July 30, Petaluma-based Lagunitas Brewing Company will introduce Hi-Fi Hops, a nonalcoholic, cannabis-infused sparkling beverage, a drink resulting from the brewery’s teaming up with Santa Rosa-based CannaCraft.
“We have come to realize that our passion for hops is a big part of our passion for beer,” Jeremy Marshall, Lagunitas brewmaster, said in a statement. “We believe it’s high time that good beer inspired a provocative yet refreshing nonalcoholic alternative — bubbly, aromatic, bitter, fruity and herbaceous with no gluten, no carbohydrates and a smidge of California sun-grown cannabis in every sip.”
In the spirits world, Francis Ford Coppola Winery recently debuted its first such collection, called Great Women Spirits.
“Our spirits collection includes vodka, gin and brandy, ideal for craft cocktails and as unique and remarkable as the women they honor,” said Wendy Putman, CEO of Great Women Spirits.