City considers changes that could boost microbreweries

By Joe Lambe

The city council votes today on a law change that could boost the local microbrew business.

The change, supported by the city Regulated Industries staff, would allow microbreweries to sell their beer at manufacturing sites.

Currently, they have to give it away there unless they have a tavern license. And tavern licenses are not available in areas were the number of them have reached a cap.

Steve Holle, founder and majority owner of Kansas City Bier Company, has applied to open a $1.7 million microbrewery in Waldo, which has such a cap.

It would be on the Trolley Trail at 318 W. 79th St. and hikers and bikers could stop there for a glass of German style beer, he told a city council committee on Wednesday.

Why Waldo, a councilman asked.

“Waldo is a kind of eclectic neighborhood,” Holle said, “the kind of people attracted to craft beer.”

It would be family friendly, he said, and they would not have long bar hours or sell any hard liquor.

The first year they would sell kegs of beer for bars and restaurants and start bottling the second year, he said.

He thinks the fresh German style beer will be popular, he said. “Importing beer from Europe is always an iffy proposition – beer has a shelf life.”

The city change would mesh with state law, which allows product sales on manufacturing sites as long as wine is made there.

In the last decade, Holle said, several St. Louis microbreweries have started making wine on site as well so they can sell their beer.

Councilman Scott Taylor said, “It’s important we adapt to a new business model.”

Holle will have to make 200 gallons of wine or cider a year to be able to sell his beer on site. But beer makers are willing to do that.

“The microbrewery market is exploding right now,” he said. “I think this amendment to the ordinance would provide a boost.”

Comments are closed.