Since there is no city code on breweries or distilleries, the city classifies these businesses under the zoning category of food manufacturing, limiting them to industrially-zoned areas, said Planning and Zoning Director Rusty Roth.
Councilman Johnny Sinclair prompted the discussion after a new whiskey manufacturer, Lazy Guy Distillery, chose to locate in Kennesaw instead of Marietta because of the way Marietta handles these businesses, he said.
Council requested staff to present a new ordinance at Monday’s meeting that would allow for breweries and distilleries in commercial areas.
Sinclair said he wants to hear from the public on the proposed change. He told the council a brewery could add to a mix of options that appeal to a younger population.
“Is that something like we would want to have in our downtown area?” Sinclair asked.
If the goal is to allow breweries in commercial areas, the city’s zoning staff suggested capping the space of such businesses at 20,000 square feet so they would not stick out in downtown Marietta.
Councilman Jim King said he supports a microbrewery as a form of a restaurant, but doesn’t want something “massive.”
King suggested measuring the size of a new establishment by the volume of beer or liquor produced.
Staff was also directed to bring back more information on federal and state laws for businesses that combine the manufacturing and retail sale of alcohol.
Red Hare Brewery operates a business in Marietta at 1998 Delk Industrial Blvd., and offers tours at that location near Delk Road.