Upcoming law may allow microbreweries in the city

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Christian Benseler/THE REVIEW
The city of Newark is deliberating over whether or not to allow for small-scale alochol production in the form of microbreweries and beer gardens.

BY
SENIOR REPORTER

A new law on the table for the city of Newark seeks to allow the establishment of small-scale alcohol production in the form of microbreweries and beer gardens.

According to the website Brew York, a beer garden is defined as “an open air space where beer and food are served.” The small-scale production, often of specialty or craft beers, is what distinguishes microbreweries from traditional breweries, according to Hop and Wine Beverage.

Prior to this possibility, the production of alcohol has not been permitted within Newark, and even serving alcohol is strictly limited to businesses qualified as “full service restaurants.”

Maureen Feeney Roser, Newark’s director of planning and development, said that these firm restrictions were put in place in an effort to minimize overconsumption and other negative effects on the community.

The new law being considered is in light of the growing demand for craft brews and the projected benefits these businesses could pose for the local economy, Roser said.

Under the new law, residents could see small-scale wine and beer production as well as tasting rooms, taprooms and beer gardens sprout up in Newark.

Roser said the project still is in its primary stages.

“The planning and development department is currently researching other communities, which also regulate alcohol sales municipally to determine how to best craft legislation which will benefit underutilized commercial and industrial space in our community,” she wrote in an email.

Rose emphasized that protecting the quality of life for Newark residents is a priority. The matter will officially be examined by the planning board in November, after which the city council provides its input on the new revision to the alcohol codes.

Most council members seem open to the proposal to make room for small scale alcohol production in Newark.

“I’m all for it,” Councilman Todd Ruckle told the News Journal. Ruckle explained that the change would be reasonable as long as alcohol production facilities were not installed in residential areas.

Councilwoman Jen Wallace was similarly supportive but cautious towards adopting the new law.

She told the News Journal that water usage and the impact of waste on the environment would have to be taken into consideration if the new alcohol production permits were granted.

Wallace also said that approval for microbreweries should not be universal, but regulated based on a special-use permit that would require entrepreneurs to go before the city council.

Ruckle said he is not concerned about the attraction of students to potential microbreweries, citing a youthful disinterest in craft beers and how they are made.

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