Elizabethton City Council to vote on more changes for pub bars, microbreweries

Published 10:38 pm Monday, January 7, 2019

The City of Elizabethton is still fine-tuning how pub bars and microbreweries will operate inside city limits.

During Thursday’s city council meeting, the council will vote on the first reading of two ordinance changes that would have big impacts on both types of businesses.

In December of 2017, the Elizabethton City Council voted to amend ordinances to allow the operation of microbreweries in Elizabethton. During Thursday’s council meeting, councilmembers will consider a first reading of an ordinance change that will allow potential breweries to produce 15,000 barrels of beer annually, which is a substantial increase from the original 7,500 barrels. According to the city council agenda and packet, the council “expressed a desire to increase the size of microbreweries in order to allow for pub bars to purchase beer from larger micro- and craft-breweries.”

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

“We don’t want to put businesses in a position where we are limiting their ability to generate revenue,” said Elizabethton City Mayor Curt Alexander.

Pertaining to pub bars, the council will also look at the first reading of an ordinance amendment that will disallow pub bars from serving alcoholic beers after 11 p.m.

“If you look at the other surrounding cities and counties that have done this,  most of them stop around 10 or 11,” said Alexander. “We thought that was more family friendly. We want to get away from calling them bars and nightclubs because that is not what they are. They are a place for people to go and enjoy each other’s company. By 10 or 11 o’clock, it’s time to go home and get ready for work the next day.”

Current city ordinances prohibit the selling of beer by any business between the hours of 3 a.m. and 8 a.m. Monday through Saturday, and between the hours of 3 a.m. and 10 a.m. on Sundays.

The council voted 5-1 in December to allow pub bars, businesses that sell fermented drinks such as wine, beer, and ciders, to operate in the city limits. The topic of pub bars brought some controversy to Elizabethton as people for and against spoke up during council meetings. Mayor Alexander said that with any ordinance change that has members of the public split down the middle, the council tries to reach a solution that makes everyone happy.

“We are trying to take concerns from people on both sides and put them together,” said Alexander. “We don’t want to limit the ability of people to do business, but we also don’t want to do anything that would hinder or harm our downtown.”