City officials are mulling over rule changes that may attract new craft beer breweries and allow Orlando’s established breweries to expand.

Current zoning rules only allow 25 percent of a brewery’s floor space to be dedicated to a tasting room if it’s in an industrial area, and if the business is in a commercial area only 25 percent of the space can be dedicated to manufacturing.

The arcane rule makes getting started difficult for would-be brewers. They either set up in rundown industrial zones and focus on production, or open shop in a commercial zone where production may not have room to keep up with demand.

The proposed change, first reported by Jeff Weiner of the Orlando Sentinel, would allow Orlando’s breweries to do a 50-50 split between tasting rooms and beer production, whether they are in an industrial area or a commercial one.

The change, approved by a city planning board and set to go before the Orlando City Council, is modeled after similar rules in towns such as Asheville, NC, and Portland, Ore., where the craft beer scene contributes millions to the local economy.

With the number Central Florida breweries on pace to double this year, the new rule can’t come soon enough.

About The Author

Drew Wilson covers legislative campaigns and fundraising for SaintPetersBlog and FloridaPolitics.com. While at the University of Florida, Wilson was an editor at The Independent Florida Alligator and after graduation, he moved to Los Angeles to cover business deals for The Hollywood Reporter. Before joining Extensive Enterprises, Wilson covered the state economy and Legislature for LobbyTools.

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