Elk Grove entices brewpubs, aims to put edge in suburban nightlife

Despite the rapid growth that has made it the second-largest city in the capital region, Elk Grove’s nightlife remains defined by typical suburban franchises such as Macaroni Grill, and city officials hope to change that by enticing brewpubs to locate in the city.

The city of nearly 161,000 residents has started a grant program for breweries, wineries and other alcoholic-beverage manufacturers that want to open tasting rooms in Elk Grove. The city recently awarded its first grant under the program, for $5,000 to Flatland Brewing Co.

City officials say residents shouldn’t have to drive to Sacramento for trendy nightlife. While Sacramento’s brewpub scene has exploded, leading some to wonder if the market is oversaturated, officials say there’s plenty of room for new brewpubs in Elk Grove. Only two are open now: Flatland and Tilted Mash.

“We’re kind of a traditional suburban city,” said Rachael Brown, Elk Grove’s economic development coordinator. “We want some alternatives to Chili’s and Chevys.”

Andrew Mohsenzadegan, the 30-year-old founder and co-owner of Flatland, said the city’s $5,000 grant has helped ease the financial burden of opening the tasting room and brewery.

While working as a wine steward for Nugget Markets in Elk Grove, Mohsenzadegan developed his skills as a brewer in his spare time, making beer in his garage for eight years. The practice may have made him popular among his friends, but he didn’t make any money from brewing until opening Flatland in January.

Flatland Brewing Co. is a small operation, with Mohsenzadegan and his brother the only full-time employees, along with one part-time employee. They found a location in an industrial park at 9183 Survey Road, just off Grant Line Road and Highway 99.

While located in a nondescript building, the inside of Flatland Brewing has personality, including a bar with wood decor emblazoned with a large logo with the brewery’s name. Seating is available in the bar, the brewing room and outdoors.

But Mohsenzadegan says the brewery’s distinctiveness is best expressed in the beer itself. The name Flatland is a reflection of the company’s roots in the area’s farming culture, and the beer picks up on that angle, too, adding food to beer like a chef would add food to a stew, he said. For instance, some of Flatland’s beers include “Apricot Tarté” and” “Coconut Oatmeal Stout.”

He said business is doing so well he can’t keep up with the demand. Almost all of the beer sold is consumed on site, when Flatland is open Thursday through Sunday.

“Elk Grove is a thirsty town,” he said.

The city’s grant program has no formal budget, Brown said. The city is working with two other brewers interested in opening tasting rooms in Elk Grove.

Beers in Sac, a guide to craft beer, has also shown interest in Elk Grove, co-sponsoring a “Beer Fest” with the city for the past two years. The festival has highlighted “an ever growing craft beer scene in Elk Grove,” according to Beers in Sac.

Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story included an incorrect address for Flatland Brewing Co. The correct address is 9183 Survey Road in Elk Grove.

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