411 on Minneapolis Zoning Laws for Breweries

Feb. 03, 2017

Zoning laws, city ordinances, zoning codes….are you lost yet? Zoning laws are long and confusing, but they determine who can build what in different parts of the state. So all we ultimately care about is, where can we brew our beer, ferment our wine, and distill our spirits?

Before you can begin brewing the gorgeous concoction that is barley and hops, you have to be in compliance with all zoning regulations. Zoning laws and regulations basically establish the areas in which you can open your facility.

At a high level, zoning applies to the building itself and what purpose it serves. The primary zoning districts consist of residence, office residence, commercial, downtown, and industrial.  It’s difficult to provide a general zoning overview because the regulations vary by city, but St. Paul, Minnesota provides a good example of some of the issues that can arise.  In 2013, the St. Paul City Council approved zoning changes to allow small brewers to open taprooms in properties zoned for some commercial and traditional neighborhood uses.  Previously, they were only allowed to operate in industrial zoned areas.

Some of the city’s initial hesitance to relax some of these zoning restrictions resulted from the use of the former Schmidt Brewing building that was used for the Gopher State Ethanol Plant.  That plant produced unpleasant odors for neighborhood residents so there was concern about opening up the area to even light industrial.  Nonetheless, changes were made to the zoning restrictions, opening up St. Paul as a city where breweries are thriving and growing in number.  In fact, one of our clients is going to be opening its brewery and taproom in the former Schmidt Brewing building.

Given the growth in breweries and distilleries and the economic benefits that they have provided for cities and towns has made it easier to obtain changes to the zoning of a particular building to accommodate these types of businesses.  Nonetheless, it’s a good idea to hire a legal team to review some of these issues with you. Hop Law is more than happy to help out.

For a consultation or further information on zoning laws and regulations, contact the lawyers at Hop Law today!