Debate foams up over microbreweries in Alameda

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There was a packed meeting Monday night in Fremont over whether to allow microbreweries in Alameda County. Leaders say they'll stimulate tourism, but many residents are against the idea. (KGO-TV)

There was a packed meeting Monday night in Fremont over whether to allow microbreweries in Alameda County. Leaders say they'll stimulate tourism, but many residents are against the idea.

The issue over microbreweries has become so heated in Fremont that the sheriff's deputies were brought into the community meeting in case things got out of hand.

Wineries have flourished in Alameda County, specifically in Livermore Valley, and now county leaders are considering whether to allow craft beer establishments, also known as microbreweries.

"When you're trying to do agri-tourism, create that type of environment for people, you want to give them many options," said Alameda County Supervisor Scott Haggerty.

The microbrewery ordinance was proposed two years ago. There have been 18 public meetings on this proposal, but concerns in Fremont are the latest hold up in the ordinance being passed.

The big concern is Morrison Canyone Road, a single lane, rural road in Fremont that many fear will b e used by customers if one particular resident decides to open a microbrewery on his property.

But at the meeting, the owner made it clear that he has no plans to do any such thing, despite having built a 12,000-square-foot barn on his property.

"I'll tell you all, we do not want a brewery on our property," said property owner Chris George.

"It's getting crazy and animals are getting hurt, animals are getting killed," said another person in the crowd.

Still, many remain unconvinced and are worried that opening up rural land to craft beer makers will make the area worse.

The pushback from Fremont residents will now likely lead to revisions to the microbrewery ordinance, a process that will likely take months.

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