By LESLIE COLLINS
Microbreweries and alcohol manufacturers will no longer have to meet density requirements to serve alcohol in Kansas City.
City Council members unanimously passed the ordinance change during their June 20 meeting.
The density requirement was originally adopted to regulate the number of taverns and package stores within a 3,000 foot area to prevent over-saturating a neighborhood with alcohol-related businesses. Retail stores with more than 20,000 square feet like WalMart, Price Chopper and Target or restaurants that sell large quantities of eatables are exempt from the density regulations.
Under the previous ordinance language, manufacturers and microbreweries were placed under the tavern and package store category, requiring them to meet density requirements in order to receive a retail sales by the drink license. If a geographical area was maxed out on density, the microbrewery couldn’t apply for a license in that area.
To receive a license, microbreweries and alcohol manufacturers will still need to obtain the required consents from the surrounding property owners and will be placed on a standard six-month probationary period. In addition, alcohol manufacturers and microbreweries may only sell the alcohol they brew on-site.
One of the microbreweries that will benefit from the ordinance amendment is the Kansas City Bier Company, which wants to locate in the Waldo area, where tavern licenses have reached their max. KC Bier is currently applying for building permits, a liquor license and manufacturing permits to open a wholesale brewery at 318 W. 79th St. If all goes as planned, KC Bier will become Missouri’s fourth largest brewery, said Stephen Holle, founder and majority owner of KC Bier. KC Bier is investing about $1.7 million in the project and will employ 12 to 15 full-time employees, he said.
“I think this amendment to the ordinance will provide a boost to create more economic activity in that sector,” Holle said.