Let’s get down to Brass Tap: Franchise brewpub Valley-bound

The Business Journal – January 3, 2020

Image via Brass Tap Facebook.

Fresno’s new Marketplace at El Paseo shopping center will be the first to add a “neighborhood bar concept” to its expanding repertoire of retailers before the model expands to the rest of the Central Valley.

The Florida-based Brass Tap franchise will open at the northwest Fresno shopping center, probably around the summertime, according to Lewis Smith of real estate brokerage Retail California.

A place to go with the family or watch the game for a boys’ or a girls’ night out, the brewhouse will feature 60 taps, as well as pub fare, according to Vishaal Sharma, who will open a separate franchise in Clovis. The Brass Tap allows its franchisees flexibility in both its menu and brews on offer. The beers on the menu will primarily feature those from the region, according to Sharma. They also serve liquor and food “you can enjoy with or without a drink,” Sharma said.

“Beer-wise, we basically showcase the local breweries and California breweries,” Sharma said.

Permits with the city and a lease for a 2,900 square-foot space have been filed for the location at Marketplace at El Paseo, near Herndon and Highway 99.

The El Paseo Brass Tap franchisee is Ravdeep Singh, who was not available for comment. A permit application for a Type 47 license, which allows for liquor and beer to be served on site, was filed with the Alcohol Beverage Control of California.

While Singh has west Fresno as a territory, Sharma is a multi-site developer for Brass Tap from Palmdale to the Bay Area. He has plans to develop five locations, including ones in Clovis, Visalia, Bakersfield and Palmdale, but his locations won’t appear until 2021 or late 2020, he estimates.

Hailing from the Bay Area, Sharma moved to Clovis after leaving his job in pharmaceuticals. He also oversees several European Wax Centers. Sharma wanted diversification for his portfolio and “something, for lack of better words, I could understand, follow and get into if I need to keep the business moving forward,” he said. With the franchise still being new to the region, he doesn’t want his Clovis location to compete with Singh’s Fresno location. New development at Nees and Herndon avenues between Clovis and Temperance avenues have the close-knit community feel that Sharma feels fits the Brass Tap model.

Brass Tap allows franchisees a lot of freedom to adapt their model to their market. Franchises can make deals with local beer makers to showcase familiar labels. “You can give them the exposure using the Brass Tap platform,” Sharma said.

While Brass Tap menus have standards, they also allow for modifications, such as vegan items.

“Once we get to the stage of opening, we’re going to evaluate what’s the demand in Fresno, what’s the demand in Bakersfield, what’s the demand in Clovis or Visalia,” Sharma said.