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Taproom at Excelsior Brewing

David Joles, Star Tribune

DEFINITIONS

Brewery: A place where beer is made commercially.

Brewpub: A place where beer brewed on the premises is sold, often with food also for sale.

Taproom: A place where alcoholic drinks are available on tap, generally not including the substantial sale of food.

Western suburbs evaluate city ordinances on breweries

  • Article by: Danielle Dullinger
  • Star Tribune
  • February 18, 2014 - 1:13 PM

Breweries have been popping up left and right in the west metro. That’s because brewpubs and taprooms are wildly popular — and because city ordinances are being changed to allow them.

The 2011 passage of the “Surly Bill” allows a brewery to be licensed to sell its beer on site, should city ordinances allow it. The law led to a surge of taprooms and brewpubs across the Twin Cities. Many cities have reexamined their ordinances, with a number of cities taking steps to encourage the business of brewing.

Here’s where things stand with some west metro cities.

Bloomington

Bloomington does not currently allow for the on-site sale of beer, which a brewpub or taproom would need to operate. Bloomington doesn’t have plans to amend that ordinance because it has not been approached with the idea, licensing examiner Doug Junker said.

Eden Prairie

Eden Prairie allows for brewpubs, and the City Council is looking to change the part of the current ordinance that requires businesses with liquor licenses to have 50 percent of sales come from food. Such a change would open the door to taprooms, which do not typically sell food. City Manager Rick Getschow said the city hopes to have that change worked out within the next two months. There are currently no formal proposals for a brewery, he said.

Edina

As a municipal liquor-store city, Edina controls off-sale liquor sales, City Manager Scott Neal said. No proposals for a brewery have been made, but the city is looking into allowing on-site sale of liquor, so long as it doesn’t jeopardize the city rules on municipal liquor, Neal said.

Excelsior

The city on Lake Minnetonka features the Excelsior Brewing Co., which opened in 2012 and by city ordinance is the only brewery allowed in the city. Excelsior’s taproom ordinance went into effect in 2011, but details are yet to be determined. Still under discussion are outdoor seating, brewery hours and construction of silos for grain storage, City Manager Kristi Luger said.

Golden Valley

Golden Valley does not allow brewpubs or taprooms. The city is looking into zoning codes to see if changes could need to be made to allow them, because the city would welcome brewpubs, said Mayor Shep Harris.

Hopkins

Hopkins approved a city ordinance to allow brewpubs and taprooms last August. The city limits the amount brewed to 3,500 barrels per year, and breweries must be zoned in the downtown area of Hopkins. LTD (Live the Dream) Brewing Co. will be located on Main Street and 8th Avenue when it opens this spring.

 

Maple Grove

Maple Grove permits brewpubs and taprooms, City Administrator Al Madsen said. The city does not boast any free-standing breweries, but Granite City Food & Brewery, located in the city, has its own brewing operation.

Minnetonka

Minnetonka has one brewery location, but it does not allow for the on-site sale of the beer. The city allows for growler sales and is working on changing the ordinance to allow for taprooms and brewpubs, according to community development director Julie Wischnack.

Plymouth

Plymouth is in the process of drafting and approving an ordinance to allow brewpubs and taprooms in the area. Steve Juetten, community development director, said the city hopes to have a plan by the end of February that would allow sales. The current draft would not allow taprooms to sell food and would allow business only on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays in the industrial district of Plymouth. Neither a taproom nor a brewpub has been formally proposed.

 

Richfield

Richfield does not have any language in its ordinance that deals with brewpubs or taprooms. Should someone approach the city on the topic, the city ordinance could be amended, said Betsy Osborn, of the city’s support services division. No taproom or brewpub proposal has yet surfaced.

 

Robbinsdale

Brewpubs are allowed in Robbinsdale, but the city does not yet have one. A brewpub in Robbinsdale would have to be attached to a restaurant and serve food. The development of a taproom — a brewery not required to serve food — would be more complicated, said City Manager Marcia Glick. Alcohol regulations were created by a vote of the citizens of Robbinsdale, and to change these rules would require another vote or a change in the way alcohol regulations are made, she said. The City Council is interested in the development of taprooms, but not until 2015 at the earliest, Glick said.

 

St. Louis Park

Taprooms are allowed as an accessory to breweries that brew less than 3,500 barrels per year, assistant zoning administrator Gary Morrison said. A brewpub does not have a specific category — it would be considered a restaurant. Steel Toe Brewing is the only brewery in St. Louis Park. Breweries are only allowed in the industrial or business park area, and the sale of food is not allowed at a brewery with a taproom license, Morrison said.

 

Wayzata

Wayzata does not have a city ordinance allowing brewpubs or taprooms, but City Manager Heidi Nelson said it is in the exploratory stage of developing such an ordinance. The city is aware of the surge of breweries in the area, but it has not received any formal proposals for development, Nelson said.

Danielle Dullinger is a University of Minnesota student reporter on assignment for the Star Tribune.

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