A planned beer garden in Oakland's Temescal neighborhood from Los Angeles-based Golden Road Brewing has some local brewers gearing up for a fight. That's not just because Golden Road isn't locally owned, and beloved East Bay brewers like Drakes, Fieldwork, and recent additions like Temescal Brewing and Old Kan Beer & Co are being territorial. It's because Golden Road represents Anheuser-Busch InBev, who bought out the 2011-founded craft brewery in 2015, a move that's been taken to stand for big beer snatching up the micro-brewing competition and adopting — or appropriating — its aesthetic.
N Oakland gentrification is so far along that Budweiser subsidiaries want to open shipping container beer gardens pic.twitter.com/4J6zhBngnk— Ali Winston (@awinston) March 23, 2017
The Golden Road beer garden development plans would encompass a 7,000 square-foot parking lot and use shipping containers in bright colors to create an enclosure of two bars and tables with a gas fire pit, Berkeleyside reports. Golden Road has also filed a condition use permit to brew beer on the premises.
But locally-brewed or not, the path forward for Golden Road could be bumpy. "Golden Road is not healthy competition," Temescal Brewing's founder Sam Gilbert tells the Chronicle, likely speaking for many of his fellows in the local industry. "It is a deliberate attempt by an international conglomerate to stifle small business and to cash in on a beer scene started through the risk and sacrifice of local beer lover... I hope that our neighbors will see through this ploy and continue to support the homegrown businesses working tirelessly to build real community and to keep Oakland unique."
Discussing the circumstances of Golden Road's sale to Anheuser-Busch InBev, Tony Yanow, a Golden Road founder, attempted to dispel rumors that the brand had been "built to sell" — founded with the express intention of being bought out. As Yanow told the LA Times in an interview last year,"In a world where the amount of shelf space is not growing, but the number of breweries is growing so quickly, it’s a fight to get your beer [into major retailers]... When Meg [Meg Gill, co-founder of Golden Road] said they wanted to buy us, it was surprising, but it was also a relief.
"There wasn’t really any reason to say no to that deal," Yanow continued. "They treated us really well, they gave us a really good valuation and they promised to keep all our people employed and give them opportunities for advancement.”