Business & Real Estate

Sacramento’s Capitol Beer will open second location downtown

Ken Hotchkiss at his beer bar, Capitol Beer & Taproom, known as one of the best places to find exciting and ever-changing beer lists in Sacramento.
Ken Hotchkiss at his beer bar, Capitol Beer & Taproom, known as one of the best places to find exciting and ever-changing beer lists in Sacramento. jvillegas@sacbee.com

In another sign of the growing popularity of craft beer in Sacramento, Capitol Beer and Tap Room is opening a second location – at a key downtown corner that once was targeted as the site for a midrise apartment building.

Capitol, which opened in August 2012 in Campus Commons and is now regarded as one of the region’s top beer destinations, last week signed a lease to open a new shop at 1431 I St.

“We feel it’s going to be a really interesting space,” said company co-owner Ken Hotchkiss. “It’s an old auto shop, with roll-up doors, and we’re going to try to incorporate all of that” into the design for the new use.

He said his goal is to have the downtown business open by September.

Hotchkiss and co-owner Patti Aguirre plan to have about 40 brews on tap – double the number at the existing shop.

They also are going to offer small plate food selections prepared there, a change from the beer-only format at the original location.

The Campus Commons location – which fronts on a University Village shopping center patio that’s set to be renovated later this year – has drawn praise from aficionados for the rotating selections of brews on tap and an adjoining retail shop that has about 400 bottles in stock.

“People appreciate that we keep an interesting lineup of quality beer, and they like the way we rotate it,” Hotchkiss said.

No bottle shop is planned at the new location.

Opening the original business was a leap of faith for Hotchkiss, who had been working as a tile contractor until the recession hit, forcing him to look for another line of work.

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He opted to get into a business that had intrigued him since moving here from Southern California in 1994 and discovering the local craft beer scene.

“If the economy hadn’t turned for the worse, I’d probably still be doing construction,” he said. “But that prompted me to change direction and ... turn a hobby into a career.”

Capitol Beer had been looking for a second location for more than two years, said David Herrera, a Colliers International broker who represented both parties in the lease deal.

After checking out several possible sites in downtown and midtown Sacramento, the owners “found what they wanted,” Herrera said. “They love this location.”

The 2,992-square-foot building was acquired in December by Horizon Capital Investments of Sacramento after the former owners were unsuccessful in plans to build an eight-story apartment building there in a partnership with D&S Development.

​Ken Hotchkiss, owner of the Capitol Beer and Taproom, is looking forward to beer week, Sacramento's official annual celebration of suds.

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