Marin Independant Journal, December 1, 1993

Novato Approves Brew Pub

Marin Brewing Co. Overcomes Opposition

By Brad Breithaupt
Independant Journal Writer

A new microbrewery is on tap for Novato.

The City Council at about 1 a.m. today voted 4-1 to approve controversial plans to open a brewpub at the Rowland Plaza.

The vote came after a 3 1/2-hour long debate, where opponents warned the city shouldn't allow the pub to be built near a Carl Jr.'s restaurant and the Rowland Plaza Cinema, both popular spots for kids.

Backers of plans to open Moylan's Brewery and Restaurant, modeled after the popular Larkspur brewpub, said it would be a commercial asset to Novato. "I think it's time for Novato to really encourage small business like this," Mayor Cynthia Murray said.

Brendan Moylan, Co-Owns
Marin Brewing Company.

She said she couldn't buy critics' concerns that the brewery would encourage underaged drinking or that it would lead to youngsters being hit by motorists who had been drinking at the pub.

"I think we should look at their record and how they've contributed to the community in Larkspur," she said, pointing to the fact that Marin Brewing Company is not a police problem in Larkspur.

Councilman Harry Moore agreed.

"What is being sold here is not inviting to teen-agers," Moore said, stressing that the beer is too expensive and too hard to get for youths' tastes.

Fishwick voted against the pub, saying that the location at the corner of Rowland Way and Rowland Boulevard, is designated for a restaurant, not a brewery that allows off-sale.

The council was under pressure from the Novato Drug and Alcohol Abuse Prevention Council, a city-formed task force that developed programs aimed at stemming youths' access to alcohol.

The council argued the area, Rowland Plaza and Vintage Oaks, already has too many restaurants that sell alcohol.

Five restaurants in the area sell alcohol, from beer and wine to liquor.

Brendan Moylan, a co-owner of the Marin Brewing Co., said the site, near Highway 101 and the Vintage Oaks, is perfect. The brewery is set to open late next year.

Eileen Moylan, his wife and partner in the new brewpub, stressed the restaurant aspect of the pub.

"Many people come down and don't drink beer at all, " she said.

She urged the council not to bend to the drug and alcohol council. "This group has been so misguided in their hunt that they have created demons where there are none. This insanity must stop."