Craft Beer, Inglewood is open.
Many of you know that I originally wanted Three Weavers to be located in the West Side of Los Angeles. It took a monumental amount of nudging and prodding from my Real Estate Agent Joe Clarke to get me to consider Inglewood as an alternate home. Joe did more than introduce Inglewood as a potential location, he understood and believed in what I was trying to accomplish with our brewery. He knew that wherever we landed, we would support the existing community. But most importantly, he saw (before I did) where we could make the biggest impact.
Each city we considered offered a different kind of support to our brewery. Each potential location had it's pluses and drawbacks. But somehow the powers that be were determined to direct and redirect me towards Inglewood (discussed in prior posts). I resisted for four painful months. I had formed an opinion of Inglewood with never stepping one foot in the city. And I was so wrong. I'm thankful that Joe was persistent and showed me that Inglewood held so much potential. It held our potential as well as it's own.
My turning point was a humbling one. I realized that I was being selfish and looking at the situation wrong. I had to consider that Inglewood might not want us. In my blinding search for the perfect brewery location, I had lost the whole reason why I founded Three Weavers: to create a community through beer. It wasn't about what Inglewood could do for Three Weavers, but what we could do for Inglewood.
We will be creating local jobs, generating sales taxes, encouraging tourism, supporting local non-profits and nurturing the budding art scene. But I have bigger plans. I plan to pave the way to make Inglewood a craft beer destination. Our brewery will be located in Inglewood's La Cienega redevelopment project area. The area mostly consists of high ceiling airfreight cargo warehouses that support LAX. It's zoned M-1 and by Inglewood's zoning code allows breweries. We, the craft beer industry, have an opportunity for an incredible craft beer scene in the area. More breweries would create a craft beer tourist destination, generating tax dollars for the city in an area that typically would not generate sales tax. I'm talking about the revitalization of an industrial area.
Inglewood currently has a moratorium on alcohol licenses within its city. If you want to serve or sell alcohol on or off premise to the public, you will need to get a Special Use Permit (SUP) approved by the Planning Commission through a public hearing. During the Planning Commission hearing on March 5th, I watched a grocery store crash and burn during their request for a SUP to sell alcohol off premise. The Planning Commission and Inglewood residents made it very clear that they did not want another point of sale alcohol license issued. They felt that Inglewood already had plenty of alcohol licenses. My red balloon deflated. I never felt so apprehensive about sharing my story and my brewery than at that hearing. But I realized that Three Weavers was very different than the grocery store. And the Planning Commission and the present residents agreed.
I shared my story, my vision for Three Weavers and our belief: It's more than beer, it's community. I was required to prove that Three Weavers was either a unique business to Inglewood or show that the ability to serve and sell our beer on and off premise from our tasting room to the public was a necessity for the viability of our business. I shared about the craft beer culture, the tourism it creates and how integral our tasting room is to that culture. I showed our commitment to local non-profits and how we plan to support the Arts through our tasting room, our brand and bottles. I asked the Planning Commission to view our SUP request as a necessity for the viability of our business. But most importantly I asked not to be viewed as a unique business to Inglewood because I planned on encouraging more breweries to make Inglewood their home. I'm proud to say that our SUP was unanimously approved that night and the seed was planted to foster the LA craft beer industry in Inglewood.
For that reason, it's more than beer, it community.