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December 7, 2012

City OKs downtown brew pub

Oneonta city planners gave a green light to entrepreneurs who want to open a brew pub downtown.

Russell Scimeca and Jason Parrish of Roots Brewing Co. presented plans recently to the Oneonta Planning Commission, which defined the project as a restaurant serving homemade brew, according to a draft copy of minutes for the meeting.

Commissioners reviewed sketch plans for the Roots project at 175-177 Main St. downtown. By designating the establishment as a restaurant and not a bar, the owners may move forward without a site plan review and may work with the city code enforcement office on the project, the minutes said.

Scimeca told commissioners the proposal is to build a 155-gallon brewery that would produce 10 barrels at a time and to install a kitchen to prepare food for patrons.

Scimeca said he was a licensed social worker and Parrish was a medicinal chemist. Parrish previously worked for Brewery Ommegang near Cooperstown, his LinkedIn website said.

According to commission minutes, Scimeca said there were four breweries in Otsego County and none in the city. The partners have spoken with Mayor Dick Miller and state Sen. James Seward, R-Milford, who were supportive of the project.

Seward marked Repeal Day on Wednesday by visiting the under-construction Roots Brewing Co., according to a media release. Repeal Day commemorates the passage of the 21st Amendment to the U.S. Constitution on Dec. 5, 1933, which ended prohibition.

“Microbreweries and brewpubs, like Roots, meld together small business and agriculture while also expanding on the tourist trade — all mainstays of our local economy,” Seward said in his release.

The Senate this year passed legislation that protects a tax benefit for small breweries and exempts breweries that produce small batches of beer from paying an annual state Liquor Authority fee, among other measures, Seward said.

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