Beer will soon flow in Folsom from new production brewery

Red Bus Brewing Co. is opening in Folsom in 2018.
Red Bus Brewing Co. is opening in Folsom in 2018.

A new business is rolling into Folsom, and it plans to end the city’s production-brewery drought.

Red Bus Brewing Co. is projected to open in early 2018 at 802A Reading St., according to owner Erik Schmid.

Where did the name come from? Schmid is half German and his dad was really into Volkswagens and Porsches. That left him with an affinity for German cars.

Since the business is off the beaten path of the hustle and bustle of Sutter Street, Schmid thought it would be neat to shuttle people in a VW van. That plan was shut down by his insurance agent, according to The Folsom Telegraph, but in a search for names for the business, the vehicle provided inspiration.

“Everywhere I drive, people smile, give me the peace sign,” Schmid told The Sacramento Bee. “... What could be a better vibe than that?”

He currently has two VW vans – one functioning, one not – and the 1972 one will serve as the store sign.

Schmid, who has lived in Folsom on and off since 1992 and owns the Brewmeister home-brew shops in Folsom, Roseville and West Sacramento, has long had dreams of opening a brewery.

He went to brew school at the American Brewer’s Guild, which was based in Woodland, graduating in 2002 with the intention of opening a pub in Folsom in the early 2000s. However, he felt it wasn’t the right time.

Instead, he purchased the Folsom Brewmeister in 2005, eventually opening the two others.

“Folsom has not been an easy place to put a brewery in,” Schmid told The Sacramento Bee. He cited a lack of manufacturing-zoned building in the city, forcing production breweries to go into commercial spaces, which is more expensive.

Schmid said, as far as he can tell, there hasn’t been a production brewery in Folsom since a brewery owned by Peter Yeager in the late 1880s on Sutter Street.

He told The Telegraph that the beer offered by himself and co-brewer Nik Stevens will always be changing.

“We’ll do some IPAs – what the public wants, but that’s not necessarily what I and Nik want,” he told The Telegraph. “We’re much more European/German kind of guys. We’ll have a Kolsch, Pilsner, and of course we’ll have an English-style porter and stouts.”

In a twist on most breweries, Schmid said the brewers will tell visitors what’s in each beer and will potentially publish versions as part of home-brew kits.

With a small seven-barrel system, Schmid wants to keep an intimate, local feel. He plans to sell 85 percent to 90 percent of beer on-site – not to be a big distributor.

“I'm not looking to be the next big thing,” he told The Sacramento Bee. “My idea for this brewery is community-oriented – something the people of Folsom can be proud of.”