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Bootlegger's Brewery's Facebook Page

[UPDATED with Comments From Both Sides:] Tony Bushala Opposes Bootlegger's Brewery Move; Fullerton City Council To Decide June 5

UPDATE, MAY 25, 10:45 A.M.: Tony Bushala sent us an e-mail stating his case. He just bought a single-family home at 219 W. Santa Fe Ave., adjacent to the proposed tasting room property, and he is concerned about the quality of life for his new tenants.

"The Planning Department made no mention or consideration of the fact there are single family houses located right next door to the proposed tasting room and their off-site parking lot [the Opus Bank facility located one block east]," said Bushala. "I believe the Fullerton Planning Dept. is completely incompetent for not addressing this issue."

Bushala is asking for a condition to require Bootlegger's to close at 9 p.m. weekdays and 10 p.m. weekends. "Bootlegger's 'tasting room' as proposed will open till 2 a.m. every night of the week," he said.

Aaron Barkenhagen, the owner and brewmaster of Bootlegger's, disagrees. While he anticipates longer operating hours than the Richman facility ["9 PM LEAVE OR DEATH (metal)"], he expects to close at 10 p.m. on weekdays and midnight on weekends. Barkenhagen said they applied for the extended hours in the CUP so as to not have to go through the permitting process again should they want to stay open an hour later for a special event such as an anniversary or release party. The Fullerton Police Department approved his security plan of hiring three security guards to come on duty at 10 p.m., and the homes are located in a manufacturing zoning area, not a residential one.

Regardless of what happens, it's going to be a lively night in downtown Fullerton--Tuesday, June 5 is also the Bushala-led recall election, during which the Fullerton City Council will be called to account for their action (or lack of action) following the murder of Kelly Thomas. Show up anyway at the meeting, and show the Fullerton City Council that craft beer tasting room patrons are not the rowdy hellions who infest other parts of downtown Fullerton.

ORIGINAL POST, MAY 24, 4:30 P.M.: Anyone who's been to Bootlegger's Brewery in the last, say, six months or so has to have noticed that it's always packed to the gills. The Fullerton brewery has become so popular that patrons of the tasting room have to compete with larger and larger beer tanks, which are necessary to keep the rest of the county (and those other, lesser places beyond the Orange Curtain) awash in Knuckle Sandwich, Rustic Rye, and Golden Chaos.

The brewery, whose lease at 401 S. Richman St. is up in August, has made no secret of the fact that they want need to move to larger digs. They're planning to have a tasting room at 130 S. Highland Ave. (just west of Harbor) and a larger production facility elsewhere... except that their current landlord, Tony Bushala, has filed against their Conditional Use Permit.

Bushala, best known as a very wealthy anti-bad government crusader, is apparently an anti-craft beer crusader too, or perhaps an anti-craft-beer-not-on-property-he-owns crusader. (Why else would a libertarian oppose a business that's done well enough to need to expand?)

Bootlegger's needs you, beer-philes of Orange County. Specifically, they need you to show up at the Fullerton City Council meeting at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, June 5 at the council chambers, 303 W. Commonwealth Avenue.

Sign your name to speak during the public comment period, and tell them what a valuable part of Fullerton Bootlegger's is. No conditional-use permit, no beer. No TV and no beer make Homer something something!

Stay tuned for more details on this, but in the meantime, come to that meeting wearing your "Drink Local" t-shirts and your love for double IPA.

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