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Brainerd City Council: Members mull microdistillery ordinance change

The Brainerd City Council conducted the first reading of a proposed ordinance change allowing the issuance of licenses and permits for the operation of microdistilleries and cocktail rooms within city limits.

Members of the Brainerd City Council opted to have an ordinance reading that may ultimately revise the city's statutes for cocktail room and microdistillery licenses. Gabriel Lagarde / Brainerd Dispatch
Members of the Brainerd City Council opted to have an ordinance reading that may ultimately revise the city's statutes for cocktail room and microdistillery licenses. Gabriel Lagarde / Brainerd Dispatch

The Brainerd City Council conducted the first reading of a proposed ordinance change allowing the issuance of licenses and permits for the operation of microdistilleries and cocktail rooms within city limits.

The council voted unanimously to convene the first reading and look to address the proposed amendments going forward.

Back on Nov. 20, 2017, the city amended a zoning ordinance allowing microdistilleries and cocktail rooms to be built in the city's business districts. Microdistilleries and cocktail rooms are akin to microbreweries and taprooms, though they differ in that they don't offer craft beer-like, for example, Roundhouse Brewery in the Northern Pacific Center-but, instead, deal in craft liquor. Like their beer-peddling counterparts, these establishments would primarily sell liquor produced on-site.

According to request documents, the reading for a possible ordinance change was prompted, in part, when City Planner Mark Ostgarden received a call Wednesday by representatives of a business interested in a facility to possibly house their microdistillery.

Finance Director Connie Hillman said the liquor-based license fee costs are identical to comparable license fees for beer-based establishments-$500 for an on-sale cocktail room and $300 for an off-sale distilled spirits license.

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By passing the resolution, the council also authorized City Attorney Joe Langel to review the ordinance changes. Legal publications, in this regard, are estimated to incur a cost of $2,500.

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