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Concord Zoning Board approves downtown microbrewery

Last modified: 12/5/2015 12:42:54 AM
Concord Craft Brewing has the city’s okay to open on Storrs Street.

The zoning board approved a variance Wednesday night for the microbrewery. Hopkinton resident Dennis Molnar had already received the board’s permission to open a nanobrewery on Pleasant Street Extension, in the former home of the Purple Pit Jazz club. The city’s code currently doesn’t allow bottling of beverages in the downtown area, so Molnar had to seek his variance. And when he changed the business plan and address for Concord Craft Brewing, Molnar needed to seek a new approval.

This time, he was asking to brew up to 15,000 barrels a year at 113 Storrs St., where the furniture and decor side of Lilise used to operate. (The apparel side is still next door.)

The brewing operation is still a small one but it’s now classified as a microbrewery, and Molnar was easily approved.

“This was pretty much the same application, just a little larger and in a different location,” Zoning Administrator Craig Walker said. “He was excited about it, and so was the board.”

Molnar told the Monitor he will begin the permitting process for his brewery next, and he could open as soon as April.

In the meantime, Walker said he is reviewing the city’s zoning ordinances to allow nanobreweries to open in more areas. Currently, those businesses are restricted to industrial zones. But a nanobrewery, by state law, produces no more than 2,000 barrels of beer each year, a small-scale operation that Walker said could easily work downtown.

“It’s a new type of use,” Walker said. “This is a trendy, fun type of use, and maybe we should allow it in more areas.”

The Concord City Council needs to approve any change to the city’s zoning ordinance.

For more information about the zoning board, visit concordnh.gov.

(Megan Doyle can be reached at 369-3321, mdoyle@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @megan_e_doyle.)


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