Salem City Council working to allow microbreweries in industrial zones

The ordinance change would open up industrial zones for small-scale breweries.

SALEM, Va. – As the craft beer movement continues to swell across the region, the city of Salem is doing its best to bring in more small-scale breweries.

These industrial buildings throughout Salem may have new neighbors in the near future.  City council is moving forward on an ordinance change that will allow small-scale breweries to set up shop in historically industrial areas.

"It's really about housekeeping and keeping our ordinance current, meeting the needs and desires of those involved in the industry," said Benjamin Tripp, city planner for Salem. 

The ordinance already allowed large-scale breweries with distribution to operate in light and heavy manufacturing areas. But Tripp says the city has been looking at craft beer trends and this change was a much needed step for city growth. 

"The craft beer industry is important to tourism and to what we're trying to achieve downtown and culturally in our city," said Tripp. 

One brewery is already planning to locate in one of the industrial zones. Tripp says the city is hoping for a ripple effect--more breweries of all sizes, serving citizens.

"Breweries in general are something that people are looking for, and trying to be responsive for our citizens, we want to make sure they have the types of businesses that they want in their community," said Tripp. 

Before a microbrewery can move in, it will have to apply for a permit and go through a public hearing process to make sure its brews are a boost for the area. The ordinance change will be brought back for a second and final vote at the council meeting next month.