This past summer, Winters residents and business owners complained regarding music and food order announcements that carried across county lines and into town from Green River Brewing & Taproom.
Green River owner John Neil said he takes his relationship with neighbors seriously. The popular establishment sits across Putah Creek from Winters and offers a recreation park, craft beers, food and live entertainment.
“My job is to keep my neighbors happy,” Neil said. “We’re on a good track with this.”
The problem was that music and announcements traveled from the performance stage facing Winters into downtown. When bands played Neil said his team regularly checked and confirmed permissible sound decibel readings, but there was a bigger problem.
Even when decibel readings were permissible at the property line, it turned out the sound was reflecting off the water in Putah Creek and carrying into downtown Winters. The physics of sound are that soundwaves travel further across water, as noted by many who have sat on a lake shore and clearly overheard a conversation from a boat a hundred yards away.
Neil and his management team have worked on methods and invested in systems to reduce and eliminate noise disturbances traveling into Winters. Along with training staff on protocols, Neil spent thousands of dollars to build a new south facing performance stage directing sound away from Winters.
The Green River team is also requiring bands to use specific amplification speakers, is investing in a new sound system, and has established sound barriers.
Green River also purchased a new point-of-sale system that texts customers’ cellphones when their food orders are ready, eliminating loudspeaker announcements.
Working with the City of Winters, businesses and neighbors, Neil said that if bands don’t adhere to their sound requirements, “they won’t play.”
Neil told the Express they are pleased with how the new stage has quieted things down.
“We did sound decibel checks the last two weeks. We got it down to 40-44 decibels,” Neil said. “I’m stoked about that. Turning to a new stage facing away from town really helped.”
As the outdoor season opens, Green River is scheduling bands, cornhole competitions and mini festival events.
Some of their upcoming events on the books include upcoming cornhole tournaments and Reggae on the Creek in May. More information and updates about events are available on the Green River social media accounts on both Facebook and Instagram, or on their website, greenrivertaproom.net.
Green River history
The Neil family has owned the property for decades. Neil shared some of the history behind the name “Green River.”
Creedence Clearwater Revival’s gold record, Green River debuted in 1969 and was penned by singer/guitarist John Fogerty, who as a child vacationed with his family in the cabins along Putah Creek, the current site of Green River.
In an interview Fogerty gave to Rolling Stone in 2012, he said, “… it was actually called Putah Creek by Winters, Calif. It wasn’t called Green River, but in my mind, I always sort of called it Green River.”
The cabins where Fogerty vacationed are now long-gone and the venue has since been aptly named Green River Brewing & Taproom.
The Neil family took full ownership of Green River on March 1 following the transition of ownership from the original four owners in the fall of 2021.
Brock Neil told the Express the family had a long-term goal of taking ownership of the business and moving forward as a family.