Sunday, May 11, 2008

Aspen Brewery gets compromise from city

It had been a long wait for the new Aspen Brewing Company to pour their first beers. The brewery opened for business back in March 2008, but something was not sitting right with them. The brewery wanted to have a tasting room and invite the public to come to the brewery and sample their beers in order to help build interest and sales for their beer. But the Aspen City Council had a zoning law in affect that limited the brewery to offering only 16 oz of beer per customer per day. Aspen Brewery owners Duncan Clauss, Rory Douthit and Brad Veltman felt this rule was a bit too restrictive and went to the city council to appeal. They felt the law was too restrictive. The Aspen City Council wanted to prevent the brewery from becoming a "bar" as the zoning for that area prohibited bars and restaurants from being there.

The first round of debates with the city ended in a defeat. For the time being, Aspen Brewing would have to stick to a 16-oz limit. The city agreed to give Aspen Brewing another hearing however on April 28th. It was a long month in passing, but on April 28th, they met again, and this time with a more favorable outcome.

The Aspen City Council agreed to allow up to 40-oz of beer to be served. This breaks down to either six 6oz tasters or four 6-oz tasters plus a pint of the customers favorite beer. Customers may also purchase beer to take home. The Aspen Brewery will sell 64-oz growlers.

While 40-oz of beer can be enough to put some people over the legal limit, the question remains on how much is really enough at a brewery before it essentially doubles as a bar. At a bar, there is no limit to how much alcohol can be served, although that point could be argued as well. A bar has some responsibility to cut off customers who appear intoxicated.

So at least for now, the brewers at Aspen Brewing Company have a bit more leeway in how much beer they can offer to their customers. Now that the ski season is over, the push is on to attract more local customers to their fine ales. Aspen Brewing is located at 557 North Mill Street in Aspen. Stop by and check out what's on tap.

More blog entries on Aspen Brewing Company.

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