Brewpub amendment passes, again

SARANAC LAKE — The village board passed a zoning amendment for a brewpub classification Tuesday night, voting to remove a local sales quota as well.

The board voted unanimously to remove a rule that would’ve mandated that 40 percent of beer produced at a brewpub must be sold on site.

Chris Ericson from the New York Brewers Association spoke before the vote, against regulation for brewpubs. Ericson also owns the Lake Placid Pub and Brewery and Big Slide Brewery in Lake Placid, though he specified that the was wearing his New York Brewers Association hat for this meeting.

“This is a cottage industry; this is a niche industry,” Ericson said. “If there’s any sort of limitations on where you can sell your beer, or how much beer that you can brew, I can you that it would be an enormous business detraction from looking at opening a brewpub in downtown Saranac Lake, especially for people that do not have any sort of presence here.”

Due to inadequate public notice, the previous zoning amendment was passed again on Tuesday night, as it had at the previous village board meeting. Village Trustee Rich Shapiro pushed for a barrel limit amendment, but it did not pass.

“At the end of the day,” I think putting a restriction on one class of business is opening our floodgates,” said Trustee Melinda Little. “It doesn’t make any sense to me.”

The amendment passed 3 – 1, with Shapiro against.

The zoning amendment for a brewpub classification was seen as necessary because the village did not have a definition in its code for a brewpub — in the gray area between manufacturing, restaurant and bar. Village bars have have expressed interested in brewing their own beer — including Bitters & Bones.