Craft brewers throughout the Sacramento region are not happy about the Thursday opening of a new brewery and restaurant in Midtown Sacramento. Some say it's just big, corporate beer masquerading as craft — a.k.a. fake brews.
Golden Road Brewery is located at the corner of 19th and L streets in the heart of Midtown. It has a large outdoor patio bordered by shipping containers. The brightly painted place draws attention, with passersby even taking pictures, including Joanne Miller, who thinks that the beer economy in the city is strong.
“Well, I think personally that Sacramento could have a good economy through these young brewing companies,” she said.
She mentioned that breweries start small, but, the sky's the limit. “Budweiser and all of the rest of them,” she said, “that's how they started."
Golden Road is not a small brewery, though. It's owned by the largest beer company in the world, AB InBev, the same company that owns Budweiser.
And that's the very issue that's troubling Andy Klein, president of the Sacramento Area Brewers Guild.
He says the large corporate brewers such as AB InBev, Constellation Brands and SAB Miller are buying up smaller breweries and beer-related businesses, then marketing them to the public as if they're still mom-and-pop shops.
Klein argues that's not fair to consumers who don't know the difference, but that they should spend their money locally, not on out-of-town beer businesses with billions of dollars in their coffers.
“There's a finite dollar amount that can be spent down there, so what will happen is people will go there instead of going down the street” to a locally owned beer spot.
In a press release, the guild called Golden Road “faux ‘craft’ beer that has infiltrated our neighborhood.”
This is Golden Road's first opening outside of Southern California, where there are currently three locations. Its director of restaurant operations, Adam Levoe, says despite the controversy, he hopes people will give the place a chance.
"Everybody's entitled to their opinion,” Levoe said. “We take a lot of pride in what we do, and that's all we can do, is do what we do the best we can."
Golden Road's grand opening is Thursday evening, the same night as the opening event for Sacramento Beer Week.