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Forsyth County-based brewery proposed

Law change could open tap on beer making

Nick “Farmer” Tanner, right, who runs Cherry Street Brewing Co-op, said the law will allow him to expand his business in Forsyth County. Jonny “Catfish” Bradley, left, helps out with a fresh batch of brew. Abby Breaux. (click for larger version)

Jonny Bradley and Dan Reingold mix in the hops while Nick Tanner stirs up a batch of brew. Abby Breaux. (click for larger version)
June 03, 2013
FORSYTH COUNTY, Ga. — All beer is not created equal. And breweries could soon be producing a local blend.

Forsyth County commissioners are looking at regulating and licensing breweries.

The county already allows for brewpubs, which are restaurants that can produce beer, but the breweries would have more flexibility as far as how much they can produce and distribute.

Forsyth County Commissioner Todd Levent said brewpubs such as Cherry Street Brewing Co-op, located at Rick Tanner's Grille and Bar at Vickery Village, 5810 Bond Street, has led in this effort.

About a 20 percent of the sales at Rick Tanner's are of made-on-premises beer. This is becaue of the increased business due to the brewing.

"This would allow my business to expand," said Nick "Farmer" Tanner, owner of Cherry Street Brewing.

Tanner said he eventually want to open a production facility in the county for further distribution and "keep it here local to those who have supported us to get going.

"We are glad to see Forsyth attacking these issues now."

The change would allow a state-licensed brewery to operate in a commercial or industrial park zoning district. But even if it's approved, state law says that the malt drinks can only be sold to wholesalers and not the end consumer or retail establishments.

In Alpharetta, the city's law was recently changed allowing for Jekyll Brewery to become the first to operate.

Forsyth County does not want to be left in the dust.

"I want our community to get in on this," Levent said. "It makes a lot of sense. Somebody is going to do it, and it might as well be us."

Levent said breweries could be good job and revenue sources.

"This is something done around the country," Levent said, pointing to successful models in Asheville, N.C., and Colorado-based breweries.

"It brings all kinds of tourism to their communities," Levent said.

Levent said that if approved, there could be lots of new events happening in Forsyth County centered around the local brews, including festivals.

The board will consider the issue at their June 6 regular meeting.

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