Vise brings craft beer and food trucks together

Vise Brewing Co., Inc. approved for unique taproom on S. Cain St., outside brewery district


VISALIA – Downtown Visalia is filling up with breweries faster than a Friday night pint! The Visalia Planning Commission approved a conditional use permit for Vise Brewing at its Sept. 11 meeting. Vise Brewing Company, Inc. will be located at 210 S. Cain St., which is located about a quarter mile outside of the new East Downtown Overlay District for microbreweries and boutique wineries.

Vise Brewing (a nod to the city’s founder Nathanial Vise who named Visalia after his hometown in Kentucky) will be one of a dozen businesses located in the warehouse-style building. The 575-square foot tap room will seat 38 people and will set aside space for oversized games such as Jenga and tick-tac-toe, as well as backyard games like corn hole, washers and ladder golf. The microbrewery will consist of five tanks ranging in capacity from 150 to 300 gallons each. Total annual production is estimated to be less than 1,000 barrels well below the city’s 31,000 cap to be considered a microbrewery.

In addition to being located outside the brewery district, Vise Brewing Company will be the only stand-alone microbrewery without in-house food service. But that’s not to say there won’t be food. As part of its operational statement, Vise said most of its warehouse bay, a total of 3,610 square feet, will be used by food trucks that will pull into roll-up doors to serve guests at the taproom.

Vise also stated its intentions to make the taproom “a family-friendly location, enjoyable for those of all ages” with plans to offer pre-packaged snacks and non-alcoholic drinks for people under the age of 21. However, the Visalia Police Department didn’t see it that way. Brandon Smith, senior planner for the City of Visalia, relayed the department’s concerns in his report to the commission. Smith stated that unlike brewpubs that include a restaurant as part of the business, taprooms resemble a bar where patrons primarily consist of people drinking alcohol.

“As such, a taproom may increase potential for minors having access to and consuming alcohol,” the report stated.

To alleviate concerns about the potential for underage drinking, city staff recommended Vise Brewing’s permit include the following conditions:

  • All customers and patrons must be 21 and older
  • Outdoor advertising cannot promote alcoholic beverage
  • Arcade/video games are prohibited at the business
  • The business must install a camera system with at least one camera focused on every area where alcohol is being dispensed

The Planning Commission was split on the issue. A motion to remove the age restriction failed 2-3 with commissioners Marvin Hansen and Chris Gomez voting yes and commissioners Brett Taylor, Liz Wynn and Sarrah Peariso voting no. A second motion was made to remove the age limit but also require packaged food sales and play activities suitable for people under the age of 21. That motion narrowly passed 3-2 with Vice Chair Wynn switching her vote. Additionally, the approval also removed limits on hours of operation when it comes to brewing beer. Vise will be open to the public from 3 p.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturday and 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Sunday. Patrons will be able to purchase bottles, growlers, 32 ounce and 64 ounce jugs, crowlers (32 ounce cans) and kegs of craft beers to take home. Vise will also make its bottles, kegs and crowlers available for distribution and re-sale.

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