Business & Real Estate

Craft brewery to open in Elk Grove with 50-seat tasting room

Waterman Brewing Company’s home in an industrial section of Elk Grove.
Waterman Brewing Company’s home in an industrial section of Elk Grove. Courtesy of Jeff Stilz

Waterman Brewing Company will become Elk Grove’s third craft brewery, the city announced Tuesday.

Waterman’s soon-to-open tasting room will feature craft beer brewed at 9824 Dino Drive, Suite 150, in an industrial area in the south part of Elk Grove. The owners hope to open in the spring.

Two other breweries, Flatland Brewing Company and Tilted Mash Brewing, opened in the city in the past year. Breweries have proliferated throughout the Sacramento region in the past few years, but only recently have opened in Elk Grove.

Waterman was founded by Elk Grove residents Jeff and Janis Stilz. Jeff Stilz said he grew up in a family that brews beer and makes wine. As he got older, he began brewing his own beer, supplying friends and family for years.

As craft beer grew in popularity, people started suggesting he open his own brewery. He and his wife decided to go for it in Elk Grove because the city has “lots of people but not so many breweries,” Stilz said.

The brewery will feature a 10-barrel brewhouse and a 50-seat tasting room with an outside patio. The brewery won’t sell food but will schedule food trucks.

Stilz said he wants to create an atmosphere where people can come in and talk about brewing beer. The tasting room will have windows into the brewing area, and Stilz said he wants to encourage conversation about the science behind beer.

“I know what it’s like to geek out when talking about beer and the whole science behind it,” he said.

Stilz is part of Elk Grove Brewers Guild, a home brewers group, and is friends with the owners of Tilted Mash and Flatland. He has 11 recipes for year-round beers ready to go, along with some seasonal beers to rotate in. He wants the beer list to appeal to everyone, not just craft beer aficionados.

“You have to have beers that are not just the smack-you-in-the-face hoppy IPAs,” he said. He has a few of those, but he also has a roster that includes lagers, porters, a vanilla cream stout and a northeastern India pale ale, he said.

He envisions the tasting room as a place where workers in the light industrial zone surrounding the brewery can come in straight after work without having to change. In the evening, he sees residents hanging out in a kid-friendly space.

“We want it to be a community-supported brewery that the locals can feel really proud of and feel comfortable coming to,” he said.

The brewing company received a $5,000 Incentive Grant from Elk Grove, which provided similar grants for Flatland and Tilted Mash as part of a newly created Brewery and Winery Incentive and Assistance Program, the city said in a news release.

Stilz said he thinks Elk Grove’s brewing scene had a slow start because the space for rent is often commercial, whereas breweries need large industrial spaces with a lot of parking. He said he and his wife had trouble finding a spot with enough parking to accommodate the tasting room.

The three breweries will be within three miles of each other, Stilz said.

Ellen Garrison: 916-321-1920, @EllenGarrison

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