Provo City Council Approves Brewpub Ordinance

The Provo City Council on Tuesday approved an ordinance amendment that would allow for restaurants to brew beer onsite. Adjusting the land-use code means brewpubs could ultimately begin operating in certain sections of the city.

The 4-3 council vote clears the way for beer brewing in two separate downtown zones, as well as regional shopping areas.

It’s a significant step for Provo, which hasn’t allowed alcohol manufacturing downtown since before Prohibition. A “sunrise clause” was included, however, giving the city time to ensure proper licensing is in place before the ordinance goes into effect.

In drafting and evaluating the proposal, Provo staffers advised the planning commission: “this minor addition will benefit the downtown and major commercial areas of the city.”

“Restaurants can already sell and serve alcohol in these areas,” the staff report says. “This amendment will simply allow for business owners to produce more local goods, maintain a strong business, and have more opportunity for growth and profit.”

That, in turn, will help Provo’s “tax base and the community as a whole.”

Areas within the city of Provo where a new land-use amendment would allow for brewpubs. Credit: Provo City Council

Provo Community Feedback

Earlier this year, the City Council conducted a survey, asking for feedback on the proposed amendment.

It garnered more than 1,300 responses, including more than 500 from registered users, according to the Daily Herald. About two-thirds of registered respondents were “very supportive of brewpubs,” the news report said.

For those who weren’t in support, the Provo City Council tweeted during Tuesday’s meeting that “many of the conditions that seemed to concern people who took the survey are actually governed by the State of Utah.”

Quinn Peterson, the executive director of Downtown Provo Inc., told The Salt Lake Tribune prior to Tuesday’s vote that the city still would have to set local licensing requirements before a brewpub could open.

Potential brewpubs would also need to adhere to rules set forth by the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control. Those regulations include:

  • At least 70% of sales must come from food
  • If you’re drinking alcohol, you must also have the intent to order food
  • Age verified before selling patrons alcohol
  • Brewpubs must be 200 feet from churches, schools, parks, playgrounds or libraries

Utah County’s largest city, located about 45 miles south of Salt Lake, is home to about 117,000 people. The vast majority of Provo residents are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The religion teaches its members to abstain from alcohol.

Strap Tank Brewery, which opened in Springville in 2016, became the first brewery to open in Utah County in nearly 100 years. A full restaurant with a brewery on-site, Strap Tank’s since opened a second location in Lehi.

Update (Feb. 21, 2020)

It appears Provo residents filed a referendum to let voters decide whether in-city brewing will be allowed. According to the Daily Herald, a handful of residents — including a retired mayor and former city council members — are seeking to put the issue up for a vote in November.

More than 6,200 signatures will be required to put the measure on the ballot, the Daily Herald wrote. Provo has 20 days to vet the referendum and then petitioners have 45 days to gather the required signatures.

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