Could Mammoth Brewing be Mammoth Dog Teams new best friend?
Mammoth Brewing Company (MBC) has a beer called “Hair of the Dog,” but if negotiations go well, the company could have the real thing, in the form some 40 dogs that will cohabitate with the brewery as new leaseholders of the Old Sheriff’s Substation property less than one mile south of the Hwy 203 interchange off U.S. 395.
Mammoth Dog Teams (MDT) owner Jim Ouimet and MBC’s Joyce Turner both turned in proposals by the July 16 bid deadline. On Tuesday, both parties went before Mono County’s Board of Supervisors to discuss their proposals, possibly as joint tenants, in the future of the 3-acre/25,000 square foot parcel.
“I want to support the dog teams, but I am concerned about the size of the property,” commented Supervisor Hap Hazard, who added he’d like to explore how to fit both proposals on the same property. “Both need to have water down there. What kind of filtration system are we talking about? How solid is this location for the brewery and what would its footprint look like?” Hazard also queried.
Joyce Turner, who is also a licensed civil engineer, said the company learned of the opportunity on short notice and has more homework to do to come up to speed on the site, but added MBC has no intent to displace Ouimet and his dogs.
Joyce and Sean Turner purchased MBC from Sam Walker in 2007. MBC has quickly grown to produce products for Reno, Nev., as well as Lake Tahoe and Truckee, Calif. It has also seen a tremendous demand in the Yosemite Valley and has plans to make a big move into Southern California. With 52 percent, 25 percent and 33 percent growth respectively over past three years, Joyce said the brewery has already maxed out its present Whiskey Creek location.
Payroll has gone up from 8 to 20 employees, she said, and that number could easily double in the next few years. MBC turns out 5,000 barrels per year, but anticipates boosting that output to 75,000-100,000 barrels in the next 5 to 10 years.
“Nothing in the industrial park can support the size of the facility needed,” she said. “Location makes the site attractive.” Turner said MBC is looking to use 2 of the site’s 3 acres.
MBC would retain a retail store/tasting room and/or pub facility presence in Mammoth, but may open the brewery to tours.
U.S. 395’s Scenic Byway status may present issues in terms of setbacks, water and any buildings there, said Community Development’s Scott Burns. But County Finance Director Brian Muir and County Administrative Officer Dave Wilbrecht pointed out that in terms of economic development, the more employees MBC has working there, the more “forgiveness of rent” becomes a factor as economic stimulus goes up. And that rent is pretty reasonable.
“At [a rent of] $650 per month, an Environmental Impact Report will cost a lot more than the lease,” Supervisor Vikki Bauer observed.
Ouimet indicated he has investors waiting in the wings, but is waiting for a go ahead before setting up financing deals. He added that of the five locations he’s been at during the past 20 years, this current location is by far the most successful of the lot. “The dogs are so much happier, they can play … I can socialize with them, which is very important for working dogs,” Ouimet told the Board.
Ouimet and Turner agreed there are issues to be evaluated, including how much of the actual acreage is usable (a stream cuts part of the back part of the property). New infrastructure, including buildings will need agreements with the County. Apart from the obvious brewing facility that will need to be erected by MBC, Mammoth Dog Teams has been planning to put up a new covered housing structure for the dogs. (The County has previously put plans in place to demolish the current substation building.)
Turner said those are details she hasn’t had a chance to ponder fully, but indicated that, in light of not owning the property on which the brewery would be operating, a long-term 40-year lease with a 10-year option (which she said is the longest allowed by law) would mitigate the property ownership issue.
Staff was directed to work with both parties and set up a timeline as to how soon all this can happen, since time is of the essence for both.
In the hallway after their agenda item, Turner met briefly with Ouimet and told him she’s looking forward to getting together and talking about how this can be worked out. “Alright. Let’s see how this goes,” Ouimet said.