One of the ongoing crusades in this city are ever-failing efforts to revitalize the East Side. If y'all were reading my blog back in '10 and the early part of '11 when I was lucky enough to live right off Hackberry, you know that part of town holds a piece of my heart, so I always pay attention to what's going on over there.
I'm certain this will prove just shocking, but by and large what little success there has been has come from people who live there, whether like me they grew up on that side of town or moved there because of a sincere desire to improve things.
The city's ideas? Not so fruitful. Witness the AT&T Center, which was gonna lead to all sorts of revitalization.
The latest city-backed idea is the construction of an Alamo Beer Company brewery on the near-East Side.
Now, let me make it clear, I don't have a problem with constructing a brewery per se. I like good beer. I miss Frio Brewing Co.'s beer. I drink Shiner when I can, and I was happy to sample some of the house brew at Fredericksburg Brewing Company.
Here's the rub. We have a drinking problem in this city. We're a metro full of alcoholics. We drink and then drive the wrong way on the freeway, and we're so sympathetic to our fellow drunks that we routinely give them probation after they murder someone with their car.
And yet, this:
Say Alamo Beer Co. gets its brewery. There is a microbrewery in the works at Pearl called The Granary. And, of course, there's Blue Star Brewing Co. down south.
Scott Metzger of Freetail Brewing Co., the brewpub at Northwest Military and Loop 1604, said he's not actively looking to open a downtown location, but wrote in an email, “if the right opportunity came along it would be something I'd heavily consider.”
It's not hard, then, to envision beer tours, the kinds of draws truly appealing to locals and tourists alike.Because of course what we need in this city of rampant drunk driving is beer tours! Nothing at all can possibly go wrong with this.
Please believe me, I know and appreciate the intelligent adult viewpoint on this. Responsible adults should not be punished for the actions of a reckless minority. I am not saying that this brewery should not be built, or that others should not be built.
What I am saying is this: drunk driving is a cultural issue. It's not something law enforcement can solve. Given that, maybe, just maybe encouraging people to drive around half the city's interior on a drinking tour isn't the best idea in the world.
By all means, build the brewpubs. Put a brewery and attached restaurant in every single neighborhood you wish to gentrify. Just don't encourage San Antonians to continue doing the stupid thing they're already doing too much of so we can become "a smaller version of Portland". Because we're not Portland. We're San Antonio, and we're in bad need of a citywide AA meeting.