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Brewing in basements

Published (3/11/2010)
By Patty Ostberg
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Beverage producers would be able to make their products in basements, under a bill approved 133-0 by the House March 8.

Sponsored by Rep. Mindy Greiling (DFL-Roseville), HF2918 would allow the Department of Agriculture to issue permits to businesses producing certain types of beverages in basements or other subgrade areas.

Greiling said basements are currently automatically ruled out due to the “olden days” when basements were wet and had mildew problems. The department would like to look at basements on a case-by-case basis now, she said.

Seth Couenhoven, director of operations for Thuro Bread, previously told a House committee that he wants to rent the basement of a building he owns to a company to make fermented tea, but is unable to do so under current law. The basement is updated and approved for commercial packaging, but also needs to be approved for the bottling process, he said.

The bill now goes to the Senate where Sen. John Marty (DFL-Roseville) is the sponsor.

Rep. Mark Buesgens (R-Jordan) unsuccessfully offered an amendment that would have required the agriculture commissioner to evaluate any health concerns about products requested by the beverage permit.

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