Comstock's magazine 0219 - February 2019 - Page 35

verse group of six breweries (the others are Thin Line, Fort Rock, Ol’ Republic, Old Hangtown and Burning Barrel), two distilleries (Gold River and J.J. Pfister) and Strad Meadery (mead is made from fer- mented honey) stretched across the ev- er-expanding Rancho Cordova city limits. A promotional effort created by the City and supported by the Rancho Cor- dova Chamber of Commerce, the Barrel District is an attempt to unite these craft beverage manufacturers and brand Ran- cho Cordova as a distinct destination for beer and spirits, a location with a unique identity in a crowded Sacramento-area beer scene. The brand was heavily pro- moted at last year’s California Craft Beer Summit and officially launched in Octo- ber with the Barrel District Experience, an event that paired craft tastings with local food at all nine locations. This proliferation of craft tasting rooms is a sign of the growth-focused and image-conscious business climate in Rancho Cordova, a city eager to show that it doesn’t shut down after dark anymore. “We want to be a live-work-play city,” says Economic Development Manager Aman- da Norton. “Anything that we can do that adds an interest into the city, we sup- port. We really pride ourselves on being able to streamline this process as much as possible.” Already the largest employment cen- ter in the county outside of downtown Sacramento, Rancho Cordova is also on the verge of a housing boom. The pop- ulation is soon to eclipse 75,000, and a recently incorporated parcel on the east- ern border will eventually yield 12,000 new homes. Still, the city had lacked for higher-end drinking destinations for the after-work crowd, one of the main reasons that father-and-son team Duncan and Jack Alexander opened Burning Barrel on a well-trafficked portion of Sunrise Boule- vard last July. “So many people work around here, and all these places close around din- ner time. There’s no place to get drinks or have local meeting spots for business people,” says Duncan, who co-owns the brewery with his father. Craft beer fa- natics dominate the tasting room on the weekends, but Mondays through Fridays, half of Burning Barrel’s customers wear suits and ties. “It’s mostly people getting off work and going home,” he says. Rancho Cordova’s Barrel District now boasts six breweries. “With everyone being so close together, it made sense to band together and put together a map and work on promoting each other’s brands.” ~ Greg Baughman, founder, Gold River Distillery With five other breweries now in the area, Palmer has noticed a shift in Claimstake’s customer base. “It’s a double-edged sword,” he says. “It went from two breweries to six, so we are now sharing regulars, but what we have seen in its place is outside-the-area customers come in, which you’ll see more heavily on Friday nights, Saturday evenings. The first two years, we were so driven by our regulars, you could guarantee like clockwork that they were going to be here, and you see that a lot less now because they have other places to go.” Been to the Barrel District? TWEET US @COMSTOCKSMAG. February 2019 | comstocksmag.com 35