St. Paul resolution passes to let small breweries sell on-site

Restrictions on small breweries will soon be relaxed in St. Paul.

The City Council today passed a resolution that would allow small breweries located in commercial areas to sell their beer on-site, by the pint. The state legalized taprooms in 2011, but a city ordinance limits those businesses to industrial areas. Taprooms provide an important revenue stream for small breweries.

St. Paul's zoning code makes it difficult to brew beer in many parts of the city, said councilmember Amy Brendmoen.

"We have been approached by several craft breweries that are interested in taprooms and have been unable to help them find a place to locate," Brendmoen said. "One of the problems that they've pointed to is how cumbersome our rule process is."

The number of breweries licensed in Minnesota has nearly doubled in the last two years, but so far St. Paul has missed out on the recent beer boom. Minneapolis has seen six new breweries licensed since it relaxed its zoning restrictions in 2010.

Thom Foss plans to open a brewery in St. Paul this year. He said the changes will help his business.

"I really like the city here," Foss said. "We keep seeing all of these breweries opening over in Minneapolis and I feel that St. Paul definitely deserves its fair shake in the brewery business."

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