It looks like the City of Miami has finally realized that its growing beer industry is good for economic growth and has embraced the concept by allowing microbreweries the ability to set up shop in many local neighborhoods.
On May 24, the City of Miami's Planning and Zoning Department issued Determination 2016-02, allowing microbreweries to exist outside of industrial areas. Previously, Miami's beer makers were only allowed to operate in industrial areas like Wynwood. The determination was made final yesterday after a 15-day appeal waiting time.
According to the document, signed by Francisco J. Garcia, planning and zoning director for the City of Miami, "Microbreweries have emerged as effective economic redevelopment tools and local-business incubators in many municipalities."
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Microbreweries, defined as "An establishment that is primarily a manufacturing facility, where beer is produced for wider distribution and consumption on premises, with a maximum production of 15,000 barrels of beer per year. The establishment shall include retail sales, a tasting room, and/or a restaurant where beer manufactured onsite is served.", can now be permitted in other areas of the City of Miami. Of course, some regulations still apply to the new ruling.
Miami's microbreweries will be limited to the first story of a structure, with a maximum square footage of 20,000 ft. In addition, the taproom must be located on a principal frontage and the manufacturing and distribution must be within a fully enclosed structure.
If you're worried that a brewery will open in your gated community, fear not. Breweries can still operate only within existing cultural specialty districts, currently defined by the city as the Design District, the Wynwood Café District, Lemon City/Little Haiti French Creole Cultural Arts and Entertainment District, the Orange Bowl District, and the Miami Modern (MiMo) Biscayne Boulevard District.
Still, the determination opens up a world of opportunities for the dozens of fledgling Miami brewers struggling to find affordable real estate in the City of Miami. With breweries such as Spanglish Ales planning a Wynwood brewery, and Bousa Brewing opening in Little River, Miami may finally reach its potential as a true capital of beer-making in the United States.