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Carolina Beach Planning Commission Favors New Brewery

The Carolina Beach Planning and Zoning Commission voted to recommend the Town Council approve a request opening the door for a new Brewery at 811 Harper Avenue just off Dow Road at their upcoming February meeting.

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CAROLINA BEACH - The Carolina Beach Planning and Zoning Commission voted to recommend Town Council approve of a zoning amendment to permit breweries in certain areas at their January 9th meeting.
According to Town Senior Planner Jeremy Hardison, Richard Jones approached the Town about opening a brewery in late 2013. Breweries could be allowed under manufacturing, but Jones would like to be able to serve alcohol on site.
Hardison explained, "Currently establishments that serve alcohol on site are approved either as a standard restaurant or as a bar. The brewery is not proposing to serve food and the applicant stated that they would not be operating as a bar."
He explained, "The applicant decided to amend the ordinance to address breweries that desired to serve alcohol. The proposal is for breweries to be permitted by right in the I-1 Industrial zoning district. Currently bars are allowed as a conditional use and manufacturing is allowed by right in the I-1 zoning district."
Hardison explained, "Many North Carolina communities have amended their ordinances to allow for the increased emergence of smaller breweries to service local needs. The on-site consumption of the product being brewed is a common accessory activity that occurs. The State ABC regulation allows an establishment that has received a license as a brewery to sell its product for consumption on it premises."
Hardison said Planning Department staff recommend requiring a conditional use permit if the area for on-site consumption and entertainment exceeds a certain size." He explained the Technical Review Committee also discussed allowing breweries in the Highway Business District along Lake Park Blvd and in the downtown Central Business District. He explained, "To prevent a large manufacturer in these districts, staff recommends limiting the square feet of the building to 6,000 sq. ft. The maximum of 6,000 sq. ft. was chosen based off the allowable lot coverage in the Highway Business District of 60% on a minimum size lot of 10,000 sq ft. Limiting the scale of manufacturers in the Highway Business and Central Business districts would protect the character of the area and be in keeping of the desired future uses."
Hardison said staff recommends allowing and clearly defining brewery establishments in Carolina Beach and, "It furthers the goals of the 2007 Land use Plan and is consistent that the Town will encourage new and expanding businesses that provide goods, services and entertainment to year round residents and visitors. It promotes economic development and redevelopment projects that support a resort-market niche."
Jones is part owner of Good Hops Brewing LLC, with an address on the application of 811 Harper Avenue in Carolina Beach. According to Jones, they hope to begin operations in mid-March with sales to the public starting in April. They will maintain six to eight beers on tap for tasting and offer over a dozen varieties of beers for distribution to local bars and restaurants. They will be producing mostly ales and "session" beers; beers with an alcohol content of 5% or less.
In the application Jones wrote, "Good Hops Brewing Company LLC will be fully funded and owned by the two families who will be residents of Carolina Beach."
On their website at a description states, "New on the beer scene and immediately captivated, we set out to join the best industry we have ever witnessed in our half century of existence. Actually it wasn’t that easy. Our son, Lookout Brewing Company persuaded us to help him start his brewery and it was truly a love of labor (even with the 80 hour work weeks). With a fistful of excellent tasting beers we set out to spread our love of fresh beer with others both new and imbued to the craft beer trade. Our goal to be one of the first breweries to expand from the mountains of North Carolina to the coast of Carolina Beach and keep the business in the family. Good Hops Brewing will focus on Ales. As in medieval time when ale and bread were served with every meal to provide an important source of nutrition and hydration without intoxication, we offer session beer. Ales are slightly sweeter less bitter beer and session beers offer the opportunity to sample all our beer varieties. We strive to transform all new craft beer seekers into believers of how beer can dare to be different and still remain pleasing in taste."
A list of their brews includes beers such as the Boardwalk Brown Ale described as, "Our brown ale is a very old style beer, whose history dates back to the 18th century when brown ales were earthy, lightly hopped and less bitter brewed with a higher level of malt. Contributions of dark and sweet malts mingle with English style hops. ABV 5%"
Others include Bravehop Scotch Ale, Donna Golden Ale, Hoppertone Double IPA, Paradise Island Pilsner and many others. Jones application states that growth of the craft brewing industry in 2012 was 15% by volume and 17% by dollars compared to growth in 2011 of 13% by volume and 15% by dollars. Craft brewers sold an estimated 13,235,917 barrels of beer in 2012, up from 11,467,337 in 2011.
During the Planning Commission's January 9th, meeting there were some concerns about the potential for outdoor seating and Senior Planner Jeremy Hardison said the Town's noise ordinance would govern that aspect.
Patricia Jones of Good Hops Brewing, LLC said the difference between a bar and a brewery is that a bar applies only through the ABC Commission as a retail permit to onsite consumption. The brewery permit is permitted to manufacture malt beverages; Purchase malt, hops and other ingredients used in the manufacture of malt beverages; Sell, deliver and ship malt beverages; Receive malt beverages manufactured in other states; Furnish or sell marketable malt beverage products, or packages, to its employees and guests in this State; they can give its products to its employees and guests for consumption on its premises which is called tastings; and in areas where the sale is legal, sell the brewery’s malt beverages at the brewery upon receiving a permit."
Commissioner Ked Cottrell stated that while he was in Raleigh he went to a microbrewery and it was full of bicyclist. They were packed and the crowd was good, contained and happy and he is supportive of it and believes it would be a great addition to the island."
Commissioner Rick Knott made a motion to recommend to Council the adoption of the amendments to the ordinances as outlined by staff to permit breweries in the industrial highway business and central business district that is in accordance with the provisions of the North Carolina General Statues 160A-383 and the adoption of the ordinance is consistent with the goals and objectives of the land use plan and other long range plans. The commission voted unanimously.