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Wilmington wants input on brewery rules

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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- Microbreweries are foaming up in the Port City. Now Wilmington is asking for your input.

City code does not identify breweries as a type of business. Tomorrow night Wilmington will hold a meeting letting folks weigh in on possible changes to that code.

"We'll see a whole new person that's traveling to Wilmington just to come here for beer," says Mike Barlas, owner and head brewer for Flytrap Brewing in Wilmington.

The City of Wilmington wants to make it easier for microbreweries to belly up to the Cape Fear.

"Craft breweries are able to go into places where most businesses would fail," Barlas said.

But unlike most business, there are no clear regulations for breweries like Flytrap Brewing in Wilmington's city code.

"You have to figure out a way to work within the code that's there, which is very limiting," Barlas said.

In order for Flytrap Brewing to operate as a brewery, they had to classify themselves as a nightclub.

"We are going through the process, and it is an example of what's happening," Barlas said.

City planners say businesses like Flytrap Brewing definitely played a role in the decision to make some changes. They want to define brewery regulations while getting input from locals in the process. They're holding a public meeting thursday night to hear what folks have to say.

"We always wanna support the local people. The more local business, the better off for Wilmington," said Marci Fontaine, who supports the growth of microbrew business in the area.

"Why not go ahead and get a better beer and support your local economy," said James Bailey, another supporter.

Officials say they want to take cues from cities like Asheville, where numerous breweries have found a home. They hope to move forward presenting plans to City Council in August.

If you want to give your input, the meeting is at City Hall Thursday at 6:30 p.m.

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