Review board approves new Lake Placid taproom

LAKE PLACID — The Lake Placid-North Elba Joint Review Board on Wednesday unanimously approved conditional use for a new brewery taproom slated for Main Street in Lake Placid.

Prison City Brewing, a brewery based in Auburn — also called “Prison City” because of the historic Auburn Correctional Facility — plans to open a taproom by June at 2577 Main St., where Bear Essentials Apparel was located. Bear Essentials owner Christina Karl said in an email on Thursday that she opted not to renew the business’s lease when it expired in February, choosing instead to focus on the shop’s Saranac Lake location and pop-up sales.

The review board sent out notice to neighbors and received no replies. They also conducted a site visit and found no concerns with the site.

According to the brewery’s review board application, the taproom will serve craft beer on eight draft lines and will sell four-packs to go. They’ll also have cider, mead, non-alcoholic beverages and New York state farm wine — that is, wine produced at the site where the fruit is grown — as well as some food items like pretzels and charcuterie boards.

The building, 2577 Main St., is located next door to Adirondack Community Church, which can present a potential problem for bars and taprooms due to the “200-foot rule,” a provision in the Alcoholic Beverage Control Law which states that a business that is on the same street and within 200 feet, door to door, of a building exclusively hosting a house of worship or school cannot be issued certain types of liquor licenses. A license to sell and serve beer and wine only is allowed; a license that includes selling and serving liquor is prohibited.

Prison City Brewing is not subject to the 200-foot rule, according to co-owner Dawn Schultz.

“We have multiple licenses, one of them being a farm brewer’s license, which doesn’t mean that we grow our own ingredients, but we’re required to use a certain percentage of New York state ingredients in our beer. One of the things that license allows is five other locations than our main, which are just permits, as opposed to full licenses, and we can serve New York state product only,” she said at Wednesday’s meeting. “Because there’s no liquor, and because of that license, we’re not subject to the 200-foot rule with the church being that close.”

Schultz said that she also measured door to door from the future taproom to the church and found that they’re 205 feet apart, just above the rule’s limit.

Some members of the state Legislature have called for the rule to be re-evaluated in recent budget talks, saying that it hinders economic growth. As of Thursday afternoon, the state budget had not been passed and it’s unclear if the 200-foot rule will be eliminated in it.

The brewery plans to hire four people to work at the new taproom, according to application materials, and renovations will be restricted to “a limited amount of cosmetic work.” The taproom will be open seven days a week from 12 to 8 p.m. during the summer and five to six days a week in the off-season, Schultz said.

Prison City Brewing currently has two other locations, both in Auburn, and distribution in New York, Vermont, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and Ohio. Brewery owners Marc and Dawn Schultz previously lived in Lake Placid from 1989 to 2001 and worked in various local hotels, restaurants and bars. In their application, they said they want to expand Prison City Brewing to Lake Placid to “get back to the area” and “extend (their) beer sales and brand.”


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