Battle Brewing: Hearing held on future of proposed brewery in Sopchoppy

Published: Sep. 14, 2020 at 11:09 PM EDT
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - A battle is brewing over a proposed tap house in Sopchoppy.

Dozens of people attended a public hearing on Monday.

The town would need to change its alcohol ordinance so the brewery could open up shop in a historic building. However, a neighboring church and many residents have some major concerns.

Two hours of public comments seemed to be fairly balanced; some are saying the town desperately needs it and others are absolutely against it.

One resident publicly admonished the city council at the end of the meeting when it was decided further action would not be needed if the business decides to open as a restaurant instead of a brewery, which would help circumvent an ordinance that states alcoholic beverages can only be sold where 75% of revenues come from the sale of food.

It’s a big sticking point for those who oppose the brewery. It’s proximity to a local church; an estimated 30 feet.

“I think the best outcome is for him to open his brewery in another location who wants it, who accepts it,” said Greg James, the minister of Sopchoppy Church of Christ.

“It’s not a bar, it’s a place where everyone can come, get food, have a drink -alcoholic or non-alcoholic - and enjoy other people’s company,” said Elliot Seidler, the owner of Civic Brewing Co.

Other folks are worried about noise and trash, safety in the neighborhood and possibly opening the door to other things, like drugs.

However, many people are in support of it, including business owners who say they need something that will draw in more business to a sleepy town.

There was a little confusion on what the next step is: The brewer plans to speak with the mayor on Tuesday to present a restaurant model. If that clears, it will go to public comment on October 12.

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