Grand Marais ordinance revision will allow brewer taprooms in city limits

Grand Marais city councilors approved the first reading of an ordinance May 28 designed to allow brewer taprooms within the city limits.

City Administrator Mike Roth said the amendment is similar to provisions on the books in other cities, and is in response to requests to allow taprooms and off-sale of beer in “growlers.” The changes will allow licensing of and permit a brewery to serve their products on premises, and also for consumption off premises directly from the brewery.

To date, one brewery is under construction in the downtown business district, with another possible in the near future. Council has already made provisions for the new businesses by approving earlier this year an amendment to the downtown zoning ordinance. That amendment added a definition for retail uses to allow light manufacturing in combination with retail, specifically for such enterprises as a winery, brewery or coffee roaster. Those changes were necessary because of requests to the city for such types of businesses that didn’t mesh with the downtown zoning regulations, but rather best fit into the “light industrial manufacturing and processing” category in the Commercial-Industrial zone (or with a conditional use permit in the business park).

The current changes add language to chapter 6 of the City Code, “Alcoholic beverages.” Among other provisions, the amendment states that a brewer may hold only one brewer taproom license; the only alcoholic beverages sold or consumed on the premises of the taproom will be malt liquor produced by the brewer upon the brewery premises; and no taproom shall be located across a public right of way (such as a street or alley) from the brewery location.

Additionally, the license conditions stipulate that the malt liquor be packaged in 64-ounce containers (commonly known as “growlers”) or in 750-milliliter bottles, and the container or bottle must be sealed in accordance with Minnesota statutes.

Following a brief discussion, councilors unanimously approved the first reading of Ordinance No. 2014-03, with no public comment. The second reading is set for council’s June 11 meeting and may also include some refinement of other sections of the alcohol ordinance. The changes become effective upon approval of the second reading and subsequent publication in the News-Herald.