Schiff: Ordinance change for Uptown brewery worth looking into

Note: For two previous stories about the brewery and the voicemail left by Meg Tuthill, visit http://southwestjournal.wordpress.com/

Minneapolis City Council Member Gary Schiff on Monday said a licensing change that would allow a microbrewery to open a taproom and sell growlers near a school is “worth looking into.”

Schiff said he has talked to the owners of Pryes Brewing Company, who want to open a brewery at West 25th Street and Hennepin Avenue South. They are the ones who released a voicemail sent to them by Council Member Meg Tuthill a month ago. In the voicemail, Tuthill said neither she nor her colleagues would change a city ordinance for one business. 

Schiff, as you may recall, authored the “Brew Beer Here” ordinance two years ago that allowed microbreweries to begin serving growlers. It has opened the door for several new breweries to open in Minneapolis.

Schiff said a possible solution for Pryes would be for the city to change its licensing to allow for malt liquor sales near a school, but continue to restrict full liquor stores from being opened near school. That’s essentially what the City Council changed last spring, only instead of schools, the city changed its laws to allow malt liquor to be sold near churches.

“I think it’s worth looking at,” Schiff said. “I think there’s a big difference between a liquor store that attracts panhandlers being located near a school and a microbrewery that is only open after school hours and attracts a clientele that is willing to pay premium price for a locally crafted beer.”

Schiff noted that the Pryes owners have offered to keep their taproom closed during school hours. Their proposed location is across the street from Jefferson Community School.

Schiff said he still has to consult the city attorney’s office and his colleagues before he could introduce any changes.

“I firmly believe in cutting regulation that chokes business development,” he said. “We wouldn’t have pedicabs in downtown Minneapolis today if I didn’t rewrite our rules in order to help start the pedicab industry. We didn’t have beer brewed in Minneapolis by microbreweries until two years ago when I changed licensing rules to allow microbreweries to open. So I think some of the most important work we can do in the city right now is cut regulation that kill jobs.”