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Business Beat: 04/15/2016

Business Beat

Glen Ellen Brewery applies for permit

A Glen Ellen couple are hoping to open a microbrewery in downtown Glen Ellen, the Glen Ellen Brewery. Eric Hunt and his wife Alicia have filed a use permit application with Sonoma County to open a microbrewery with bottling and retail sales on the bottom floor of a two-story office building at 13606 Arnold Dr. The actual entrance would be around the corner off of Warm Springs Road.

Eric Hunt, who has been a shipping supervisor for a Napa company for the last 13 years, wrote in his planning application that he has been brewing beer for 10 years, and discovered that making beer is his ultimate passion. Hunt said he's now at the point of mastering the craft of beer making and is ready to share it with the outside world. Hunt is currently renting the space for storing brewing supplies.

Short-term, Hunt plans to be on site brewing just about every day and be open for customers, though hours of operation would vary. Long term plans include the Glen Ellen Brewery being open to the public 6-8 hours a day.

On tap would be the brewing of a select range of ales, and evolving to produce high-quality lagers and natural, non-alcoholic sodas. The Hunts are also beekeepers and plan to try their hand at making mead (honey wine).

“I love the process of brewing and seeing people smile after taking their first sip of a beer or beverage,” wrote Hunt.

Hunt is originally from Napa, and his wife Alicia was born and raised in Glen Ellen, a member of the Pursell family who has lived on Warm Springs Road going on five generations. The Hunts are expecting their first child.

The use permit application must be reviewed by county planners and eventually be approved by the county's Board of Zoning Adjustments. Any comments can be sent to Permit and Resource Management Department planner Blake Hillegas at

Buy McFarland Trout direct from KenWood Restaurant

The KenWood Restaurant and Bar has McFarland Springs Trout on the menu, and anyone who has stood still long enough has been told the story of McFarland Springs Trout by owner Becky Chaboya.

McFarland Springs Trout are nutritious, ecologically sound and, by all accounts, absolutely delicious.

McFarland Springs Trout Farm, located in Lassen County, is the only trout farm in the world that uses a red-algae based feed that is completely hormone and antibiotic free. No natural fish stocks are impacted. There is zero trace of mercury or other heavy metals in the fish.

McFarland Springs' water supply comes from the headwaters of a natural spring, extremely cold and free of the pesticides and contaminates found in other water sources. The spring not only provides for the trout, but also generates all of the electricity for the farm through hydroelectric power.

The fish is hand harvested and processed, unlike conventional machine processed methods. It is raised locally, lowering the carbon footprint and further promoting regional cuisine.

Chaboya said the number one question she gets after patrons hear about McFarland Trout is, “Where can I get it?”

Select chefs can purchase from the sustainable seafood company TwoXSea located at Pier 45 in San Francisco. Or folks can dine at Meadowood in Napa, Shed in Healdsburg, Nopa, Bar Tartine, State Bird, Flour + Water, or purchase at Bi-Rite Market in the city. Heading down south? Try Manresa or Cindy's Waterfront in The Monterey Bay Aquarium.

But you can't purchase McFarland Springs Trout here in Sonoma County, so Chaboya has decided to do something about it. She is rolling out a pilot program enabling local consumers to buy McFarland Springs Trout via The KenWood Restaurant and Bar.

“We benefit from being a part of TwoXSea and McFarland Springs and having access to the very best sustainable fish. It seems to me that we should pass that benefit on.”

Orders can be placed with Chaboya and the trout will be delivered to The KenWood Restaurant where you can pick it up.

To learn more, email

The KenWood Restaurant is located at 9900 Sonoma Hwy. in Kenwood.

TIPS Tri-Tip expands with second trolley

Glen Ellen-based TIPS Tri-Tip, owner of the Tri-Tip Trolley, is expanding its business with the addition of a second trolley. The new trolley is being built from the ground up by Hometown Trolley in Crandon, Wisconsin. It is expected to arrive in Glen Ellen in mid-April, when Castino Restaurant Design in Rohnert Park will complete the build-out. The new trolley is expected to make its debut at Sunset's Celebration Weekend at Cornerstone Sonoma, May 14-15.

The first Tri-Tip Trolley was launched in the spring of 2014 and became a mainstay at the Tuesday night farmers market on the Sonoma square. It is now entering its third season at Transcendence Theater's Broadway Under the Stars in Jack London State Park. Demand from wineries, breweries, festivals, weddings and private events have steadily increased, prompting the owners to look at expansion.

“We're so excited about the new Tri-Tip Trolley,” said Susie Pryfogle, owner of TIPS Tri-Tip. “We've received so many requests for the trolley that we simply had to increase our capacity. Now with two amazing trollies, we're thrilled we're going to be able to meet the demand.”

The Tri-Tip Trolley has also been involved in the Sonoma Valley community, including sponsoring Sonoma Little League, working with the Sonoma Volunteer Firefighters on July 4th, and being a sponsor at the Sonoma International Film Festival.

Just as with the first trolley, there is a unique opportunity for individuals, families and local businesses to partner with TIPS Tri-Tip and get their name emblazoned on the new trolley for all time. If you would like to be a part of this experience you can purchase a space at

TIPS Tri-Tip is available for booking at or by calling 509-0078 or emailing

Flatbed Farm now open

Flatbed Farm of Glen Ellen is open for business. Located at 13450 Sonoma Hwy., this onsite farm stand is open on Sundays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., and Thursdays from 1 to 5:30 p.m. Hours are subject to change. For sale are Flatbed Farm eggs, olive oil, produce, herbs, and soon flowers as well.

A small nursery is on site and will have vegetable and herb plants for sale on Sunday, April 17, and Saturday, April 23. On April 23 there will be a full day of events to launch the new farm business, including live music, local food, and an arts and craft show featuring other local vendors. Flatbed Farm is owned by Chris and Sofie Dolan, and is managed by Rachel Kohn Obut. Email for more information or to sign up for their weekly newsletter.

A. Bright Idea celebrates office expansion

The Poppe Building in Glen Ellen came alive April 7 when members of the local business community gathered for a ribbon cutting ceremony marking the newly expanded offices of advertising and public relations agency A. Bright Idea, and the new tasting room for Kivelstadt Cellars.

Over the past 18 months, A. Bright Idea added four new team members, including three senior staff, complementing more than 40 creative communicators company wide. Moving forward, the agency remains primed to continue its pace for growth and anticipates additional hires over the next year.

“It's hard to believe we are heading into our seventh year here in Wine Country and 20 as an agency,” said A. Bright Idea President T.J. Brightman. “The business community has been extremely welcoming and we look forward to expanding our operations to further satisfy the needs of our clients in the small business, nonprofit and government sectors.”

The event, held in conjunction with Kivelstadt Cellars, a local winery celebrating the Grande Opening of their new tasting room, was an opportunity for local business owners, residents and members of the Sonoma Valley Chamber of Commerce to visit the 19th century building and learn a bit more about the award-winning services offered by A. Bright Idea.

A. Bright Idea also owns and operates, connecting travel enthusiasts to information about the best wineries, dining, shopping and businesses in Wine Country through an interactive website. allows visitors to experience Sonoma County before they arrive, through the power of customized interactive maps, 360-degree storefront panoramas, videos, reviews and more.

For more information on A. Bright Idea, go to

La Luz Center partners with SVVGA

The Sonoma Valley Vintners and Growers Alliance (SVVGA) and La Luz Center have formed a partnership to enable them to provide more access to services for workers in the wine industry and their families.

“The face of our wine producing workforce has changed,” explained La Luz Executive Director Juan Hernandez. “Migrant workers have pretty much been replaced by people who live here, most of them with their families. They have put down roots and are becoming more engaged members of our society. We see our role as facilitating this process by providing resources for education, healthcare and financial literacy - helping this community get established and thrive here.”

La Luz offers day and evening English classes at three locations in the valley; a pre-kindergarten early learners program; five levels of computer classes including Excel and computer maintenance; classes on household budgeting; access to many health related services, and now some employment assistance and even small business loans. Their recent expansion into the Family Resource Center at El Verano School was a big move toward reaching out to even more families and providing services on the school site.

The SVVGA-La Luz partnership is a further step to reach workers and connect them to La Luz services.

“The wine industry could not exist without its workforce,” said SVVGA Executive Director Maureen Cottingham. “We want to do everything in our power to enhance the lives of these workers and their families.”

Business Blurbs

Say it ain't so! The Vineyards Inn in Kenwood will be closing, with its last day being May 30, after over three decades under the ownership of Steve and Colleen Rose. Look for a more in-depth article on the Roses and their legacy in a future issue of the Kenwood Press… Biscotti blues - Boncora Biscotti in the Kenwood Shopping Center is closing its doors at the end of April. Proprietor Daniela Tempesta, who ran the business after the death of her mother in 2014, said it was a difficult decision to make, and passes on her heartfelt thanks to her customers for their support… Morton's Warm Springs will be opening under its new ownership in May. They're organizing a neighborhood open house, tentatively set for May 1, 1-6 p.m., so folks can meet the new owners, Sean Wadsworth and Laurie Hobbs, and hear about their plans. Call 833-5511 for more details… Hopscotch Gifts & Gallery in Jack London Village has new hours. They are now open Thursday through Monday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and closed on Tuesday and Wednesday… Muscardini Cellars has a new photography exhibit in their tasting room by landscape photographer Michael Eadington. Since the late 1980s Eadington has been taking photos of skiers and rock climbers in Northern California, as well as waterways. Photographs of Lake Tahoe will be for sale, with 10 percent of the sales going to the nonprofit organization Keep Tahoe Blue. Muscardini Cellars is located at 9380 Sonoma Hwy. in Kenwood… St. Francis Winery hosts the Valley Ford Cheese Company on April 30, 1-3 p.m., as part of its ongoing Sonoma Tastemakers series. St. Francis wines will be paired with award-winning farmstead Italian cheese. Admission is free… Hike and taste in the vineyard on April 24 at Kunde Estate Winery starting at 9 a.m. This is a modestly strenuous hike of four hours through a range of ecosystems and habitats on the estate. Cost is $30 per person. And on April 30, Jeff and Roberta Kunde will lead a dog hike for those with furry friends. Wine tasting and lunch follow the hike. Cost is $60 per person. Pre-registration required. Call 833-5501, ext. 334.

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