Valley Voices

Brouhaha over beer company slight actually helps reinforce Fresno as a great place

Jemma Wilson, a communications manager at Firestone Walker Brewing Co. in Paso Robles, responds to a tweet from singer John Legend with a dig about Fresno. The tweet was subsequently deleted.
Jemma Wilson, a communications manager at Firestone Walker Brewing Co. in Paso Robles, responds to a tweet from singer John Legend with a dig about Fresno. The tweet was subsequently deleted. Fresno Bee file

Recently, Firestone Walker Brewing Company, makers of the popular 805 American Blonde Ale, found itself s on the wrong side of California’s fifth largest city. The kerfuffle was the result of an ill-conceived (and not particularly clever or funny) tweet from a member of the Firestone communications team. In the end, the controversy blew over faster than a Fresno Grizzlies Thirsty Thursday hangover.

However, Fresno’s own “Beergate” had Central Valley expatriates throughout the country rushing to the defense of our beloved community. Sassy tweets, lengthy Facebook posts, and witty memes flew around the internet like Kopi at Fresno’s Greekfest. Sometimes it’s helpful to have someone take a cheap shot at Fresno as it forces everyone to consider all of the great aspects of the place we affectionately call home.

Tal Eslick
Tal Eslick Fresno Bee file

If there was ever a time to be proud of the Central Valley, it is now. There are more job opportunities, better food, and exciting entertainment than ever before. That being said, our community has blossomed without losing its charm. We can still enjoy an authentic Basque meal at Fresno’s Shepherd’s Inn followed by a white napkin dinner at Trelio in Clovis.

Our own California State University, Fresno was recently ranked in the top three for the best graduation rate among public universities. Fresno County itself continues to be a financial powerhouse in the state, feeding the world and producing almost $8 billion in agricultural crops and commodities in 2018.

These are indeed exciting times in the Central Valley.

After spending most of our lives in Fresno and Clovis, my wife, our daughter, and I now live in Sacramento. I own a public affairs company with corporate clients throughout the state, including many in the Central Valley. For time first time ever, there is a realistic business case to be made for opening a full service office in Fresno. I can say with absolute certainty that businesses throughout the state are beginning to reach the same conclusion.

So grab a glass of CRU, a pint of Tioga-Sequoia, or even a bottle of Firestone-Walker 805 and raise a toast to the Central Valley!

A Central Valley native, Tal Eslick owns Eslick Public Affairs. He served for a decade in various roles with the United States Congress and California Assembly, including chief of staff for former Rep. David Valadao of Hanford.

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