Urban Roots is nearing completion on their renovation of longtime Sacramento favorite The Shack. They had just one problem: They weren’t allowed to actually bring their beer over from their V Street brewery to the new location.
That’s because of a regulatory obstacle leftover from a bygone era that was lingering on California’s books. Breweries couldn’t distribute their beer to restaurants they own.
But when AB 2301, signed Friday by Governor Gavin Newsom, takes effect, it will let breweries sell directly to restaurants they own within a five-mile radius, eliminating the inefficiency and waste of hauling kegs to distributor warehouses back and forth across California.
It sounds simple, but even for BAWK!, the popular fried chicken eatery on R Street that Urban Roots owns just four blocks away from their brewery, they had to hire a distributor to ferry kegs the four-tenths of a mile between the locations.
“They’re so close together that we could conceivably use a hand cart to get a keg from one to the other,” said Urban Roots co-founder, Peter Hoey. “But because of this probably unintended complication, we couldn’t.”
Urban Roots hired a distributor based 65 miles away in Contra Costa County. The distributor’s truck drove an hour up the heavily trafficked Interstate 80 to Sacramento, brought the beer all the way back to the Concord warehouse and then delivered it to BAWK!, traveling nearly 200 miles and through several counties to complete the ordeal that should have otherwise been a quick trip down the street.
“What’s funny is that we could sell directly to The Shady Lady on one side and Burgers and Brew on the other,” Hoey said, referencing BAWK!’s neighbors. “But we couldn’t sell in the middle because we own it.”
Craft breweries are, by and large, local businesses providing jobs and gathering places to communities across the state. This small change would keep profits within the community and open up opportunities for these small businesses to continue to thrive.
Urban Roots wants to continue to offer the city locally-owned spaces with a distinct Sacramento vibe. But when they reopen The Shack on Folsom Blvd, they were concerned they would have to continue to work around this extraneous hurdle that the Governor eliminated by signing AB 2301.
“We love Sacramento and we’re thrilled to be bringing our concept for The Shack to life for the community to enjoy,” Hoey said.