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Cigar City Brewing notches a victory

Submitted by on December 2, 2010 – 4:03 pm5 Comments

Cigar City Brewing tasting roomCigar City Brewing returned to the Tampa City Council today to seek a permanent wet-zoning permit to allow the craft brewery’s tasting room to remain open.

They won. The final vote was 4-3 in favor.You can read about the nuts and bolts of the meeting in this post by Sean Nordquist.

The last time owner Joey Redner went in front of the council, the vote deadlocked at 3-3 (one member was out of the country). Redner called upon the craft beer community to rally in support. And we did. At the meeting, a couple of dozen people lined up to speak, the vast majority lauding the brewery, its economic impact upon the community and its growing reputation in the world of craft beer.

Supporters were diverse: A doctor, an MBA student,  beer distributor representatives, competitors, owners of businesses small and large, brewery employees, an artist, community activists. Some had been friends with Redner for years; others had never met him.

The four people opposing the wet zoning either lived in the neighborhood near the brewery or had close ties to it. They cited traffic problems, and some “what if” hypotheses about drunken drivers. But no proof was offered.

At the end, Charlie Miranda, the member who absent at the previous meeting about the brewery, voted in favor of keeping the wet zoning and allowing the tasting room’s doors to remain open.

Before the vote, Miranda spoke about the situation, citing “hundreds of calls” the council had received from across the country.

“I started getting calls from Connecticut, from Portland, Maine, from Seattle, from California,” he said.

That’s impressive, and it was obvious that it impressed Miranda. There was no mention of how many letters, emails or petitions were received, but judging from what I know from conversations I’ve had with others in the craft beer community, both online and in real life, the number must be staggering.

I spoke briefly with Redner after the meeting, and he expressed his thanks all the bloggers, the writers and craft beer lovers who offered their support.

Our community is powerful.

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