Commission pushes forward to consider new micro-brewery regs

Augusta, Georgia Seal graphic
Augusta, Georgia Seal graphic

AUGUSTA,Ga  (WJBF) Opening Broad Street to micro brewers and distillers it’s an idea Augusta leaders now are seriously considering.

“That is taking place in other cities it has proven to be successful in other cities I don’t see why it can’t be successful in downtown Augusta,” said Commissioner Bill Fennoy.

Earlier this year Riverwatch brewery opened at an old warehouse in the Farmers Market, Current city zoning laws wouldn’t allow it downtown and the owners says her business will be hurt if competitors are allowed downtown.

“If somebody does put a brewery right in the middle of downtown that is actually going to affect my customer base because why would they come all the way out there when they could just be hanging around where the restaurants and other bars are,” said Brey Sloan, owner of Riverwatch Brewery.

And now some Commissioners are also expressing concerns about the impact of opening up the downtown to brewers and distillers.

“If we allow new businesses come in downtown it will hurt them they’re the ones who made the investment they’re the ones who paved the way to have it in Augusta Richmond County,” said Commissioner Bill Lockett.

“Unfortunately we have to move Augusta forward that’s just the way it is its competition,” said Commissioner Sean Frantom the leading supporter.

“It’s unfair competition.”

“Oh you can look at it that way but it’s also growth it’s also every one city is doing it I mean Augusta has got to get with it and this is just one aspect of getting it started,” said Frantom.

Commissioners voted to put city planners to work researching state law and drafting   new regulations for micro-breweries and distilleries, the time line has those regulations coming back before commissioners by the end of March, a motion to slow down this process for six months was not approved.

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