Comstock's magazine 0219 - February 2019 - Page 34

n TASTE LAND OF LIBATIONS Rancho Cordova’s Barrel District is on track for growth BY Daniel Barnes PHOTOS: Joan Cusick W Mike Ryan, left, and Brian Palmer say the City of Rancho Cordova helped ease the process of opening Claimstake Brewing. 34 | February 2019 hen Brian Palmer set out to start a craft brewery with his father- in-law and homebrewing part- ner Mike Ryan in 2014, Rancho Cordova wasn’t even on their radar. “We original- ly were going to open in different cities, different counties, and couldn’t get any- body to call us back,” Palmer says. “We were just naïve to the whole process, so seeking help was important, and Rancho Cordova offered that to us.” In Rancho Cordova, Palmer found a city that not only called him back, but ac- tively recruited his business, and worked to make the typically-onerous task of opening a brewery and tasting room as easy as possible. A rewrite of the city’s zoning ordinance that waived most dis- cretionary permits saved the pair $10,000 in fees off the bat, while the Development Services Team, which includes a represen- tative from all 15 city departments, meets once a week to answer project-related questions and facilitate the development process of all city projects. “For guys like us who had no idea what it took to start a brewery, the DST made it much easier just to get answers,” says Palmer, a veteran of the telecom/cable business. “You don’t have to chase every department down.” By the time Palmer and Ryan finally debuted Claimstake Brewing in a nonde- script Rancho Cordova business park in March 2016, it was one of only two craft breweries in the city, a former suburb of Sacramento that incorporated in 2003 (the other brewery was American River, which closed in 2017). Today, Claimstake is one of the griz- zled veterans of The Barrel District, a di-