Beer lovers rejoice. There is going to be a second location to sample some of the coveted Pliny the Younger ale that draws beer pilgrims from around the world to Sonoma County.
It won’t be right away. But the Russian River Brewing Co.’s plans to build a new brewery, pub and restaurant in Windsor took a major step toward reality Tuesday with approval from the town’s Planning Commission.
“Obviously tonight is a huge hurdle to get over. This officially will give us the green light to start construction,” said Vinnie Cilurzo, co-owner and brew master at Russian River Brewing.
Work is scheduled to start in mid-April on the more than $30 million, 114,000-square-foot facility anticipated to open in late 2018.
The Windsor facility located north of Shiloh Road near Conde and Mitchell lanes, has been eagerly anticipated since plans for it were first reported more than a year ago. It will provide a new venue for fans to slake their thirst and help ease the crowds at the downtown Santa Rosa pub and brewery.
A cherished craft brewery, Russian River’s location on Fourth Street attracts 300,000 visitors annually.
About 16,000 of those patrons come during the first two weeks of February for the limited release — underway through Thursday — of Pliny the Younger, a triple-hopped IPA rated one of the top beers in the world.
Pliny the Younger should be flowing in Windsor for its fortnight release by February 2019, Cilurzo said.
This year’s event has drawn guests from almost every state as well as people from 43 countries, he said.
“It’s pretty amazing, a staggering number,” he said.
The Pliny phenomenon generates an estimated $4.9 million in economic activity during the two-week period.
Windsor Mayor Deb Fudge said she was “super excited” to have the brewery choose the town for opening a second brewpub.
“Windsor is welcoming the Russian Brewing Co. with open arms,” she said Tuesday, describing it as a well-thought-out project with high-quality design.
Fudge said the craft brewery will add to a burgeoning spirits district on the west side of Windsor that includes a cider maker, distillery, St Florian’s brewery and two vintners.
Fudge also was looking forward to having the town’s hotels fill up during the two-week release of Pliny the Younger.
The Windsor brewpub, on a 15-acre parcel will be slightly larger than the Santa Rosa location, with room for 175 people, and additional outside seating.
Owners Vinnie and Natalie Cilurzo plan to keep the Santa Rosa venue open and keep making beer there. They plan to sell their production facility off Santa Rosa Avenue.
The Windsor production facility will enable Russian River Brewery to more than double its production overall.
Last year, the company made 17,000 barrels. The Windsor facility will produce about 35,000 barrels to start, in addition to the 4,000 barrels that will be brewed at the Santa Rosa Fourth Street location.
“There’s room for us to make not just more Pliny the Younger, but more of our other beers as well,” Vinnie Cilurzo said.
He said the Windsor facility will “be a grand customer experience from the minute you drive up.”