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A Pub Too Many in San Juan Capistrano?

With so many establishments serving alcohol in downtown San Juan, a new beer bar needs to get a second blessing before getting a license to serve the suds.

(L-R) Ron Bland and Andrew Reed are opening The BrewHouse in San Juan Capistrano. Photo courtesy of Jessica Rice.
(L-R) Ron Bland and Andrew Reed are opening The BrewHouse in San Juan Capistrano. Photo courtesy of Jessica Rice.

Downtown San Juan Capistrano has so many alcohol-serving establishments that a new beer pub must first get a special blessing from City Council before the state Department of Alcohol Beverage Control can grant it a license to serve the suds.

“ABC has determined that there is an ‘undue concentration’ of alcohol licenses” nearby, according to a staff report to the City Council on Tuesday’s agenda.

As such, the City Council must declare the BrewHouse a "public convenience or necessity" before ABC will give it a license to serve beer and wine.

“State law allows one new on[-site-] sale alcoholic beverage license for every 2,000 new residents and one new off-[site-] sale license for every 2,500 residents,” said ABC spokesman John Carr.

When new businesses throw those ratios off, the local authorities need to declare the new business a public convenience or necessity, Carr said. Examples of how a pub can be a necessity include job creation and enhancing a business district.

Because the number of residents and businesses selling alcohol is always fluctuating, the ratios can fluctuate and businesses which get in at advantageous timing won’t need the extra step, he said.

According to an ABC chart, San Juan Capistrano has one U.S. Census tract with a total of 83 establishments which serve or sell alcohol. For comparison’s sake, Dana Point has 126 and San Clemente 156. There are 6,065 alcohol-serving/selling businesses in Orange County and 85,788 statewide.

The City Council will consider declaring the BrewHouse a public convenience or necessity at Tuesday’s meeting, which begins 6 p.m. at City Hall, 32400 Paseo Adelanto in San Juan Capistrano. 

Matt Gaffney December 02, 2013 at 12:57 PM
I'd say it's a necessity.


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