One brewer spearheads taproom code changes in Chico


CHICO, Calif. - One brewer wanted to start his own brewing company but felt restricted by the city's taproom codes.

On Tuesday, the Chico City Council unanimously approved code changes for manufacturing taprooms, all spearheaded by one brewer.

Charlie Barrett from Elk Grove, wanted to move to Chico to pursue his dream of opening his own brewery. When he got started with the building process, he learned that he could not operate as a manufacturing taproom because of the city's code.

"I wanted to do a brewery but I did not want to serve food," said Barrett, "I did not want to deal with a kitchen and everything that has to do with food."

Barrett did not want to be under the "restaurant" category so he applied for his company to be a brewery and tasting room. He said the city's code would only allow him to serve a limited number of people in the tasting room. On top of that, he would only be allowed to give small samples and was not allowed to sell his own product in-house.

"We applied just as a tasting room and a manufacturing brewery," said Barrett, "We were told by their definition a tasting room would be 5-6 people."

Barret said it would be hard on his business for him to have these restrictions, so for three months he worked to change the city code.

"It went our way and I think they finally realized this is great for Chico," said Barrett, "It is just a place to have a great community spot to talk about beer, share our thoughts on beer and just gather."

Barrett and other manufacturing taprooms will now be able to sell their product on site and customers will also be allowed to consume their beverages. Manufacturing taprooms will also be allowed in industrial and commercial zones.

Barrett said that when he first started creating his brewery in Chico, he was not aware of the city's code. He said he decided to change the old code so that other breweries starting out can have an easier time.

Barrett's brewery, "The Secret Trail Brewing Company," is currently under construction and is expected to open early November.