Zoning Change Could Bring More Craft Breweries to Long Beach

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The brewery business is bubbling and booming in Long Beach. To further the industry’s thriving potential as a lucrative business and economic driver, the City Council has initiated a zoning change that will make it easier for craft breweries, wineries and distilleries with tasting rooms to open shop throughout the City.

“Craft breweries fuel local jobs and community investment, which are integral to generating lasting growth,” said Mayor Robert Garcia. “It’s no secret that this progressive, business-friendly initiative will have a solid economic impact on our economy.”

On April 7, 2015, the City Council adopted a zoning code amendment permitting craft breweries, wineries, distilleries and accessory tasting rooms to operate within commercial, industrial, and certain Planned Development (PD) districts. The zoning change streamlines the application and permitting process, reducing the time and costs associated with starting this type of business. The ordinance also provides concise development standards designed to guide new projects and minimize impacts to commercial neighbors.

“This zoning update will allow the City to capitalize on a fast-growing industry by using our existing assets – thriving commercial areas, unlimited inventory of existing building stock, and a regional reputation as a foodie destination – to their highest potential,” said Amy Bodek, Director of Long Beach Development Services.

The craft brewing industry has experienced tremendous growth over the past 30 years, both in volume of production and market share. Prior to the City’s zoning change, the Long Beach Municipal Code allowed for similar uses in specific zoning districts, such as the manufacturing of beverages in certain industrial zones, and brewpubs in the Downtown Plan area.

City staff collaborated with the Long Beach Police Department and the City Attorney’s Office to establish development standards in relation to the zoning change, including facility size and volume of production capacities, hours of operations, and stipulations that an alcohol manufacturing business and accessory tasting room may not be located within 500 feet of a preschool or K-12 school.

As the nation’s top producer of wine and craft beer, and with more breweries and wineries than any other state, California leads the country’s craft brewing culture. There are currently more than 160 breweries in Southern California.

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