Microbrewery plans to tempt Vallejo’s taste

There has been no microbrewery in Vallejo since Prohibition shut down the last of them, a local historian says, but that will change if a Vallejo couple has its way.

Karin and Ed Cummins last week were granted a permit to serve beer and wine downtown, in a place they hope to call the Pint Size Brewing co.

City officials are as enthusiastic about the business opening as the couple is, city planner Marcus Adams said Friday. “It could help revitalize downtown,” he said.

Ed Cummins is a certified craft brewer, in the industry for a decade. He plans to turn his passion into his family’s livelihood, and help reinvigorate downtown Vallejo in the process, his wife said.

“The brewer would be right on the floor, and on brew days, people could watch the process and the beer will be fresh, and routed right to the tap at the bar,” she said. “We will also be a small grill restaurant, serving specialty burgers, sausages and salads. it will be great.”

A microbrewery is defined as one producing less than 15,000 barrels annually and usually concentrating on exotic or high-quality beer.

Ed Cummins said his interest in brewing small batches of specialty beers began more than a decade ago when he tasted what a friend was making. “After a while, we liked it and my wife bought me a home brewing kit, and it’s ballooned from there,” he said.

A Vallejoan since age 4, Karin Cummins, 44, spent many years working as a manager at the local Harley Davidson dealership. a former “military

brat” originally from Sacramento, Ed Cummins, 48, has worked for nearly 30 years at Crockett’s C&H Sugar plant.

The Cumminses, who have two daughters, said they are invested in Vallejo and want to make their dream a reality here.

Karin Cummins said she feels her family’s efforts to open the first such business of its kind in nearly 100 years will make them part of Vallejo’s history. “We’ve been to the (Vallejo Naval and Historical) Museum and there are pictures of (the microbreweries) that were here (in the 1800s), with horses and wagons,” she said.

Museum director Jim Kern confirmed the Pint Size Brewing co., would be the first such establishment in Vallejo since 1918.

After prohibition, one of the former breweries became an ice cream company, but the others just vanished, Karin Cummins said.

Prohibition was repealed in December 1933, but no breweries reopened in town. The Cumminses hope to change that at 339 Georgia St., in what was last an artist’s studio. The storefront has been empty at least a year, Karin Cummins said.

The business would create about eight jobs, not counting construction jobs, and would “have a certain vibe,” Karin Cummins said.

“Microbreweries are kind of cool – comfortable but not seedy – not too big or too small, and this place is perfect,” she said.

But there’s still a long way to go, and nothing is sure until the business opens its doors, she said.

“The hardest thing has been the economy. it was a struggle to get funding, but we have it,” she said. “The use permit took five months. But the hardest part was finding a building owner willing to invest in upgrades to their building.”

New building codes say a change of use in a structure prompts fire sprinkler installation requirements – an expensive proposition.

But if determination, planning and hope count for anything, the Pint Size Brewing co. will happen, Karin Cummins said .

“This is something really cool for the city,” she said. “We’re still struggling to make sure it happens, but it will be cool if it gets off the ground.”

• Contact staff writer Rachel Raskin- Zrihen at (707) 553-6824 or rzrihen@timesheraldonline.com.

Microbrewery plans to tempt Vallejo’s taste