Following a wave of opposition from local brewers and neighbors, Golden Road Brewing has drastically changed its plans for the vacant lot in Oakland’s Temescal neighborhood. Originally proposed as an 8,606 square-foot, seven-shipping-container affair with fire pits, concerns about traffic and noise from neighbors have caused the brewery to drastically alter its plans.
The changes include a reduction of its footprint in the parking lot behind Clove and Hoof (320, 322, and 330 40th St.) to around 4,000 square-feet, a 12 foot driveway to give Broadway businesses access, and three parking spots But, that’s not really the heart of the issue. Much of the pushback against the brewery, which was purchased by AB Inbev in 2015, is from those in the local craft beer community.
The addition of three extra parking spots isn’t likely to change the mind of people like Sam Gilbert, owner of nearby Temescal Brewing, who says that the beer garden is “part of a larger, deliberate attack on local, independent beer by a multinational beer conglomerate that does not share the values of us or our customers.” Local taprooms like Rose’s, and beer-focused eateries like Hog’s Apothecary are within walking distance, creating what some feel is a saturated market for craft beer.
The second round of plans is different enough to require a second round of public comments and review by the planning commission. “We knew that if we wanted to be successful that we needed to make a few important changes,” Golden Road general manager Mark Kamarauskas told Berkeleyside. “Temescal is like looking in a mirror of our current employees and patrons. We’re coming to Temescal because we believe in the neighborhood. We aren’t out there in an attempt to differentiate ourselves.”
The Los Angeles-based brewery has roots here, as founder Meg Gill worked for years in beer in the Bay Area, and even considered an attempt to purchase Speakeasy at one point. As for Gill’s reaction to the initial public outcry against her brewery’s expansion to Oakland, she’s standing by her choices. “My life is in this brewery, so of course I'm going to defend my decision,” Golden Road founder Meg Gill told Eater in an interview in May. “Some people call it a sellout, I call it responsibility to your employees. I call it having vision and having a big dream. I respect that decision, and I ultimately will stick by my decision to partner with a big beer company to grow faster.”
Stay tuned to see if that growth will include Oakland, as the beer garden goes through its approval process.