The Turlock Planning Commission met Thursday unanimously approving a conditional use permit for Dust Bowl Brewing Company to expand to a new 30,000 square-foot facility.
Located west of Highway 99 at 3000 Fulkerth Rd. and 1501 Dianne Dr., in the Turlock Regional Industrial Park, the building is intended to house the brewing, bottling, storage, shipping, business offices, and retail visitor center Tasting Room with an open patio with a view of brewing operations and packaging.
The facility is expected to operate 24 hours per day with manufacturing, while the tasting room will be open from 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.
As the area is zoned as Community Commercial, intended for retail-type activities, such as restaurants, hotels, and entertainment uses, and not necessarily manufacturing, the company was required to attain the conditional use permit to move forward.
The new $10 million dollar project includes a variety of interactive customer-based activities, in addition to manufacturing, and is therefore considered a hybrid.
Construction will begin in March 2015 and is anticipated to be completed in November 2015. The new facility will have an initial capacity of 17,000 barrels per year with projected first-year sales at 10,000 barrels — double current annual sales. The master plan allows for expansion of up to 100,000 barrels per year.
“We bought the open land in 2013 and have been in the planning stages ever since,” said Brett Tate, founder of Dust Bowl Brewing Company.
“We’ve outgrown our current facility and are poised for expanded production and distribution. The craft industry is on the rise and we’re excited to be part of the upward movement.”
The expected increased production will allow the company to meet current demands and expand throughout California markets. Of note, the company recently signed on with Morris Distributing, which covers the San Francisco Bay Area serving Marin, Sonoma, Napa, Mendocino, Lake and San Francisco counties.
Owner Brett Honoré stated that the vision is to make the facility a destination for locals and day-trippers as a full-service venue.
“We eventually want to create an outdoor venue for special events. The design aesthetic is Napa inspired, inside and out, so it will be unique to our area,” said Honoré.
Local businesses will fund and build the project, including Huff Construction Company Inc. of Modesto and Oak Valley Community Bank, based in Oakdale.
Though local residents welcomed the economic development to the area, during the public comments section, some raised concerned with how the facility might affect their nearby residences in terms of noise, public safety and property values.
Per CEQA requirements, according to the Commission, 19 properties in a 500 sq. ft. radius from the project were given notices regarding the proposed plan and a sign was posted.
Planning Commissioner Nick Hackler stated that he believed Dust Bowl owners would be willing to listen to the concerns of local residents.
Soraya Fregosi, Planning Commission Chair, called the proposed property aesthetically pleasing, and hypothetically stated that the project could increase property values.
Planning Commissioners noted that with the lighting and traffic pattern, it would be oriented away from homes.
Larry Smith, of Smith Chevrolet Cadillac in Turlock, located immediately to the north of the new location stated during the meeting that they are looking forward to their new neighbors.
“I think it will be a great opportunity for Turlock in terms of jobs, revenue,” said Smith. “I think it will certainly enhance the area.”
Smith recognized the concerns of nearby homeowners stating he has faith that Dust Bowl owners would do the right thing to address them.
The approved conditional use permit will stand as a final decision unless it is appealed to the City Council to which the deadline is 10 days, ending Nov. 17.
Rendering of the exterior of the brewery expansion set to be completed in November 2015.