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Advice on Property Purchase for New Brewery

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  • Advice on Property Purchase for New Brewery


    I am currently planning a brewery in Sunbury, OH (Northeast of Columbus, OH). I am looking at a 5-10 bbl system at 250-500 bbl/year to start. I have pushed my plans up another year while I work on clearing my personal debt (trying to start this with mostly my own cash), but I am also ready to jump on some property if the right opportunity arises. I am looking for a location in or near Sunbury to open the brewery. I have looked at some existing buildings to lease or buy but so far either the lease is too much for me right now or the property didn't work out. I am also looking into some land. A couple of days ago I found a 5 acre plot of land (currently a corn/soy bean field) for a great price that is a mile or two from the town square just outside of the main part of town. It has a 40x45 pole barn on a slab. There is electric, water, and sewage at the road and the land has been evaluated and approved for a single family home by a soil scientist with a standard septic and leaching system, water, and sewage at the road.

    I am wondering about the feasibility in buying the land, subdividing into two 2.5 acre plots. Then, getting the plot with the pole barn rezoned commercial and converting the pole barn into my brewery and taproom. As for the other plot, I could either sell or build a future home, or something else.

    Here are some questions I have:.

    1. Does my idea sound feasible? Anyone have experience with this and have any tips, especially any other Central Ohio breweries that have done the same?
    2. Can I hire someone to deal with the subdividing/rezoning? A lawyer, realtor, broker, or should I just navigate that myself?
    3. What type of zoning does a brewery with taproom and food trucks need?
    4. Anything about the zoning I need to know when it comes to the TTB or Ohio Liquor Control?
    5. There is no natural gas. Any advice on propane or electric?
    6. Anything I am not thinking of?

    I am going to talk to the Sunbury zoning folks in the next week also, but I thought I would ask in case anyone has any experience in this area.


    Ken Fitzpatrick
    On The Fly Brewing Company LLC
    Last edited by kenfitz; 01-25-2018, 12:46 PM. Reason: Fix caps in title

  • #2
    Can you clarify? Are you receiving city water and city sewer for this brewery? If so, have you talked to the water company about your plans?


    • #3
      Originally posted by wlw33 View Post
      Can you clarify? Are you receiving city water and city sewer for this brewery? If so, have you talked to the water company about your plans?
      Sewer and water available at the street. Need to talk to water company and city about water and sewer demand though.

      Talking to a buddy of mine who owns a cigar shop, he said I should just go to a city council meeting and introduce myself and give them my plan and see what they say.



      • #4
        So after doing some research, I discovered this land I am considering is not within the Sunbury, OH municipal limits. It is literally 2000ft outside of the limits. It is actually under Trenton Township Zoning in Delaware County. I found a lot of good information on rezoning and sub-dividing in Delaware County townships on the planning commission website.

        As far as subdividing, I will hold off on that idea. I plan on having a mortgage for the property, so the sub-division process is much more complicated. It would be better to wait until I pay off the mortgage.

        The rezoning process seems time consuming and perhaps what I need to do is get a variance instead.

        In addition, I still need to talk to the water company and whoever provides the sewage services. Sunbury takes care of that in the city, but I am not sure about Trenton Township. It should be fairly easy to figure that out. Also, I am not sure about propane vs electric, but I would appreciate any views on either from others. I can also contact the gas company to see if natural gas is an option or not. If so, I will go with natural.

        In the meantime, I am going to contact the TTB. Several years ago I was asking them about a basement brewery, which they shot down, but said if I had a separate building, they would accept that and sent me a zoning variance form to take to the city I was in at the time. I will contact them next then the planning commission and to look at the variance process.


        • #5
          Public Water Quality Report


          You can request from your water supplier, their Annual Water Quality Report. This is very helpful in evaluating your water quality for brewing beer. The report is free and online. Most important, the report shows a range of values over a 1 year period. All private water reports show values on the date tested only. A range of values gives you a much truer picture of what you are dealing with.

          Look for chemicals in the water (some are added by the water company) and mineral content (commonly known as water hardness or TDS levels). Chemicals can be managed with Carbon or Catalytic Carbon filtration and TDS levels and mineral content can be managed by Reverse Osmosis systems.

          If you are visiting with the water company, you might as well get as much information as possible.