On June 26, 2015 Alisse Cottle and Jessica Borrayo hoisted a 5-foot-long rainbow flag to fly outside their Santa Rosa coffee shop and tap room to celebrate the Supreme Court decision granting same-sex marriage rights. It’s flown just outside the doors every day since that landmark decision as a beacon and a welcome sign to the gay community.
But it was never the couple’s intention to make a statement. “The day (same-sex) marriage became legal, it was a celebration,” recalls Cottle, who manages the front of the house, while Borrayo handles finances and business aspects of the 2-year-old business. “Immediately we got really positive responses, but we thought about whether we should be nervous about putting it out…There are always people who are going to discriminate, even in our little bubble of Sonoma County,” Cottle adds. “I never saw a giant rainbow flag in downtown, so it was something that we watched and waited to see. We want Brew to be safe.”
At a moment in history where issues of gay rights, race and gender are being reframed, Cottle and Borrayo recognized the need for an inclusive, safe, positive and accepting environment for all. Their cozy cafe, with hand-me-down sofas, unicorn art and near-nightly community events has become that place.