VISALIA, Calif. (KFSN) --The art of craft beer and wine could soon be big business in Visalia. The city is opening the door for tap rooms, tasting rooms, and microbreweries.
In downtown Visalia-- east of Santa Fe-- is a part of town where buildings are boarded up and crumbling. It is just a few blocks away from Gail Zurek's office at the Chamber of Commerce.
"Our east main is an area of town that the city has long struggled with."
The sidewalks have been empty for years waiting for change-- something new to reverse the urban decay. The city may have found it in craft beer.
"These are guys that are brewing beer in their house," said Zurek.
Many of them are, but soon they could be brewing on Main Street in what would be called the Micro Brew District. The city just approved the plans.>
"It allows businesses to come in, it creates a tourism component for us. It's pretty exciting," said Zurek.
Twenty minutes away from downtown, inside a warehouse in Tulare, two men have built a brand together by hand. Kaweah Brewing-- the only microbrewery in the county.
"I think it's getting better, it's good to see that it's getting better," said Julian Sprague, production manager at Kaweah Brewing.
"Business brings business, and when one brewery gets going maybe another brewery will get going," said Kenny Kildebrand, owner of Kaweah Brewing.
They're both hoping the Micro-Brew District will bring new names and more beer to the Valley.
"Imagine if we had one spot with 10 breweries, that would be a destination," said Sprague.
At this point, Kaweah Brewing will be staying in Tulare and focusing on building a tasting room. As for the micro-brew district, Zurek said there is already interest from coastal breweries, local restaurants, and there will also be space for craft wineries.