Oldsmar to allow craft breweries, brewpubs in town

A recent decision by the Oldsmar City Council paves the way for craft breweries, brew pubs and micro-producers in town.

There are 17 breweries in north Pinellas County, including three each in Palm Harbor and Tarpon Springs and eight—and counting—in Dunedin, according to Gulp Coast, Visit St. Pete Clearwater’s craft beer trail website.

Noticeably absent from the list is Oldsmar, which boasts several bars, taverns and restaurants, but zero craft breweries.

But thanks to a recent decision by the Oldsmar City Council, the city’s drought could soon be coming to an end.

“I think we reached a great conclusion—breweries will be allowed in all districts,” Marie Dauphinais, Oldsmar’s Planning and Redevelopment director, said after a second workshop addressing the topic on Wednesday, Sept. 5.

The unanimous decision to allow microbreweries, brewpubs and micro producers in town came more than four months after an April 30 workshop on the issue.

After learning officials had received several requests about opening breweries in town, and with no provision in the city’s code allowing them to do so, the council instructed staff to conduct additional research on craft beer facilities and regulations.

The Oldsmar City Council okayed changes to the city code, paving the way for brewpubs in the Town Center district.

Armed with a ream of backup materials, Dauphinais informed the council they created specific guidelines to come up with standards for manufacturing and production in the industrial district, and for brewpubs with smaller production levels in the Town Center district.

“So, basically they’re going to be allowed in all districts, with definitions, limitations and standards,” she said.

Those regulations would include restrictions on storing kegs outdoors as well as governing the smells that arise from the production of beer, among other things, according to Dauphinais.

The recommendation was met with approval from the four city council members in attendance, including Mayor Doug Bevis.

Oldsmar Mayor Doug Bevis.

“We did our homework,” Bevis said, adding, “It’s nice that Dunedin and some other areas have already gone through this process and we were able to learn from them.”

After noting the decision won’t be final until the recommendations are officially approved by the council, Bevis said, “I don’t know how it will roll out, but this makes it much more attractive to put a mixed use facility in the Town Center or a production facility in the industrial district.”

Indeed, a local father and son have been anxiously awaiting the council’s decision to do just that.

Dan Gainor, a veteran of the hospitality industry and his dad, John Gainor, a former president and CEO of International Dairy Queen, had already presented officials with their plans to bring a “family-centric microbrewery that will anchor the community and drive tourism to the city of Oldsmar,” to the Town Center district.

Needless to say, the council’s decision was met with elation from the Gainors.

“We believe Oldsmar is a perfect place for a craft brewery, especially with the recent growth and the plan to build a mixed-use development downtown,” Dan Gainor said immediately following the meeting, noting they had been “waiting for this day for a long time.”

“We hope to bring the first craft brewery to Oldsmar, and now we can start working towards that goal.”

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