City Hall

The city's looking to change the law to allow a cool addition to downtown.

A new line in Ithaca's zoning code could clear space for a developmental grey area–brewpubs–to be allowed to establish themselves downtown. On Wednesday night, the city's Planning and Economic Development Committee proposed a change to the code to clarify a law allowing establishments to sell beers, wines and ciders to sell on-premises. 

It's complicated to gauge the immediate significance of the law: establishments like Bandwagon and Ithaca Beer Company are already in operation and generally fall within the allowed definition of a tavern.

The difference–in the case of the business the code was written to allow, the proposed Liquid State Brewing Co. taproom proposed to set up in the Cornell Laundry building–is that there was never any formal definition for the difference between a brewpub and a brewery, especially in the central business district: Bandwagon, a small scale brewpub producing under 5,000 barrels a year as defined by New York State, went through the building department as a tavern.

Because Liquid State's yield is larger, up to 40,000 barrels, a specific definition was required. (New York State standards define a microbrewery as up to 60,000 barrels.)

The changes are in their earliest stages, and will be coming back to the committee next month.

Follow Nick Reynolds on Twitter @Nickthaca

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