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Boyle Heights May Land Another Craft Beer Brewery, Though the City Says Otherwise

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Dry River Brewing joins Indie Brewing Co. in the neighborhood, but has starkly different plans.

Dry River Brewing
Dry River Brewing
Farley Elliott is the Senior Editor at Eater LA and the author of Los Angeles Street Food: A History From Tamaleros to Taco Trucks. He covers restaurants in every form, from breaking news to the culture, people, and history that surrounds LA's dining landscape.

The debate over Boyle Heights' gentrification is still going strong, with even more plans to build, revamp and (to some, at least) revitalize the rich cultural neighborhood. Over on Curbed, there are details of a planned 81-room hotel looking to bed down near Soto St.

There's more news on the craft beer brewing side of things as well. First up was the notice that Indie Brewing Co. had plans to take over some warehouse space and even open a tap room on site, settling in nicely as the next urban brewery. Now comes details from Dry River Brewing, a local and sustainable-leaning craft beer outfit that first came to citywide attention after hitting their Kickstarter goal back in 2013 while searching for a slice of the L.A. River bank to call their own. Turns out, they've got keys to some Boyle Heights real estate of their own, and are looking to brew.

There's only one problem: the city doesn't seem to want to let them. In all the tippy-toeing about keeping Boyle Heights just the way it is, the nervous City of Los Angeles has decided that the neighborhood doesn't need a craft beer brewery. In fact, it might be downright unwanted. Of course, Dry River disagrees, and has started a petition to bring their voice to the forefront.

Of note: Dry River Brewing isn't looking to put a tasting room on site, only manufacture in their space. That means no on-site retail sales of any kind (they'll put their taproom elsewhere in town). They also intend to stay small. Dry River's brewmaster lives in Boyle Heights, and the system they're running maxes out at around 5,000 barrels — peanuts for a brewery, but enough to hopefully satisfy demand without rattling the neighbors.

Who wins in this battle? It's still too early to tell, of course, but Dry River is hoping to get enough signatures to force the city to at least come to the table with an honest discussion about what's possible. And having an open dialogue, more than anything, seems to be what the residents of Boyle Heights are after.