On Tuesday, Dec. 3, Firestone Walker Brewing Co. will host a public meet-and-greet at the Venice/Marina del Rey property at 3205 W. Washington Blvd., which they acquired earlier this year. The event will begin at 6:30 p.m. (no RSVP required) and co-proprietor Adam Firestone will be on hand for questions and input, covering details of the three concepts they propose for the taproom -- scheduled to open in 2014.
Attendees will be informed of the small-scale, four-vessel brewhouse and the one-off (specialty) brews the company intends to research and experiment with on the equipment. They'll go over the restaurant plan, representing Firestone Walker's approach to beermaking and food with "a menu and ambiance unique to the Venice property."
The third concept to be showcased Tuesday will be the brewery's beer discovery program: a division of the space dedicated to education that will hold the tasting room, retail area and training room. Firestone Walker hopes to introduce and develop beer comprehension through seminars and sessions for all level of craft enthusiast.Unlike much of the demolition-heavy construction currently banging down the Venice neighborhood, Firestone Walker will improve existing buildings that have long been unoccupied without increasing their footprint. Parking will be accommodated through the site's existing lot and the company plans to make the location especially bike-friendly.
Also, unlike much of the building under way on Abbot Kinney, no Venice icons were harmed in this property acquisition. We hardly think the image of the Sizzler that once occupied the building will be tarnished by a quality, community-oriented brewery. Adam Firestone put it best when he said, "Hopefully a little less chainlink fence and more paint and landscape will be welcomed."
We asked what Firestone personally hoped to accomplish in this initial meeting. "This is our first chance to present the project to the community. There will be at least three public hearings (planning commission, city council, L.A. City zoning administrator, etc.), but this one is more informal."
Gentrification of the Venice neighborhood has been hotly contested in recent months. It's a difficult balance to maintain the spirit of such an legendary place while still allowing for growth. Firestone prides himself in community-building and had this to say when we asked what he thought about residents potentially seeing this move as an established company capitalizing on the increasing trendiness of Venice:
I guess anyone who isn't the very first could be accused of being "me too." But communities are only formed when like-minded folks coalesce. The question is whether you contribute or detract from the community. We've been selling our beers all over SoCal for 16 years, and that gives some great insight into the the area. I think we understand the importance of contributing to a community and becoming part of its fabric. Successful communities should have good local purveyors for all life's necessities. And that most certainly includes beer -- the world's oldest beverage.