One of the biggest wins for breweries was the ability to sell their beers to visitors on-site.
Even though the state law has already gone into effect, some breweries in Austin still can’t sell directly to their visitors due to current zoning restrictions. The breweries stuck in the zoning limbo are still charging visitors for a tour or a souvenir glass in lieu of not being able to sell the actual brew.
“Most of the breweries in Austin have Light Industrial (LI) zoning, and the City considers breweries to be Light Manufacturing use in most cases,” explained Greg Dutton who is in the City’s Planning and Development Review Department. “Liquor sales aren’t necessarily prohibited in LI zoning but you would have to have a restaurant/bar use.”
The City of Austin is working with the breweries on an amendment to allow breweries the ability to sell their own product without the need to become a restaurant or cocktail lounge.
Some breweries in Austin have North Burnet/Gateway (NBG) zoning, which allows for alcohol sales.
On Thursday, the City Council is expected to set a public hearing regarding the ordinance amendment for Feb. 13.
The City hopes to have the new ordinance in place within a few months.