Brewer 559 Local opens tasting room in Old Town Clovis

CLOVIS, Calif. (KFSN) -- The first brewer to take advantage of Old Town Clovis' new tasting room ordinance opened its doors on Friday. It's part of a new trend in Old Town to bring in a fresher, hipper vibe.

559 Local began brewing a unique group of ales back in 2012. But up until March, the only way for a tasting room to operate legally in the Old Town district of Clovis was to be part of a restaurant or be licensed as a bar. In March, the Clovis City Council voted to amend its ordinance and allow beer and wine tasting rooms to set up shop.

Rhett Williams and his mom and dad, Randy and Cheryl, were ready to go. "You know a lot of people are like, 'Oh my gosh, cities are so hard to deal with.' I found that not to be like that at all with the city of Clovis," said Williams. "I mean, I would walk in with my gym clothes, 'Hey, I got a question about this light socket.' That's totally not the question, but they were so easy to deal with."

Old Town Clovis has always had a western, cowboy flavor with lots of antique and collectible shops and unique restaurants. But in the last few years, young entrepreneurs like Williams have moved in with a desire to cater to a younger, hipper crowd.

"We're not looking for the 2 a.m. crowd. We don't want that," said restaurateur Kelley Nelson. "We want more the person that appreciates the wine, the craft beer, and knows about the process it takes to make, and just the kind of whole movement and involvement with it."

Nelson has had his own restaurant in the past, but he's now involved with an Old Town coffee shop called On the Edge. With Clovis' tasting room amendment now in place, he and the shop's owners are now working to open an On the Edge After Hours, which will offer wine tasting and wines by the glass in addition to small plate dishes. On the Edge After Hours hopes to open at the end of the summer.
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