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Newport brewery-related uses addressed in ordinance

The craft beer craze sweeping across the Twin Cities recently tapped south Washington County with the area’s first brewpub.

Located in the former Red Rock Saloon in Newport, Derrick and Autumn Lehrke’s Opinion Brewing Company is the first of its kind of use in the area. They plan to brew their own beer and serve it in their bar.

The brewpub business plan prompted Newport city officials to draft an ordinance relating to breweries, microbreweries, craft distilleries, and accessory brewpubs.

TKDA Senior Planner Sherri Buss said the Newport Planning Commission researched the brewery-related ordinances of various cities and came up with language that mirrors the statewide ordinance.

As part of the new ordinance, craft breweries, wineries and distilleries, and micro and regional breweries will be permitted uses in the B-1 (business), I-1 and I-2 (industrial) districts.

A “small brewery as an accessory use to a restaurant or bar” will also be allowed in mixed use districts so long as the applicant secures a conditional use permit.

The conditional use permit stipulation, Buss said, is consistent with the city’s requirement that all restaurants that serve alcohol obtain the permit.