Dallas to Change Rules to Encourage Microbreweries, Wineries and Distilleries

City looks to cut red tape

Dallas wants to attract more microbreweries, wineries and distilleries with rules endorsed Monday by a City Council committee.

"There's a lot of red tape, and that's why we're moving the ball forward, to try to make sure we protect the integrity of the community, but at the same time take away that red tape," Councilman Jerry Allen said.

Four Corners Brewing Co., which plans to open by Labor Day weekend in an old truck repair garage on Singleton Boulevard at the base of the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge, requested the change.

To operate at the location under the current rules, the company would be required to obtain a special-use permit, a much longer and more complicated rezoning process.

"We use natural ingredients where you used to have petrochemicals and diesel fuel used in this building," said Four Corners co-founder George Esquivel.

He grew up in the West Dallas neighborhood that now has a direct connection to downtown Dallas with the new bridge.

"It's called 'the bridge to nowhere,' and in about six months, they'll be calling it the bridge to nowhere," Esquivel said.

Four Corners plans to sell kegs to local bars and offer tours and sample tasting at the brewery.

The Deep Ellum Brewing Co. runs the same kind of operation on St. Louis Street at Malcolm X Boulevard.

It opened under the old rules, but company president John Reardon said the proposed change is a step backward.

"In our district, we don't fit in the newly proposed zoning districts, so if we want to get bigger, we'll have to go looking for a new home," he said.

However, Reardon said he supports the city's goal of attracting more microbreweries.

"All change is a little scary, and [after] a couple years go by, we'll see if it's a good thing," he said.

The proposed rules also would apply to small wineries and distilleries.

Times Ten Cellars opened at the old Lakewood Post Office Building on Prospect seven years ago.

"We made the decision to build the winery here in Dallas because this is where the customers are," co-founder Rob Wilson said.

He said he supports the changes, saying the current rules make it very difficult to start a winery in Dallas.

"I think it's good for the city, good for everyone," he said.

A final vote of the full City Council is scheduled for June 27.

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