Bonds Brewing, LLC, just opened its brewery earlier this summer on Second Street downtown, but it has run into an issue when families try to visit the brewery with their children younger than 21 — the children are not allowed inside.
The brewery went before the Laramie City Council during its Tuesday meeting to request the ability to allow underage patrons in the microbrewery.
After the state changed its statute to allow more city autonomy in whether to allow underage patrons into establishments serving alcohol in 2017, the Laramie City Council at the time voted to allow underage patrons with certain stipulations, including if the business is operating under another license, including a golf or retail license, or obtains special approval from City Council.
Since the brewery does not serve food and cannot meet the food profit percentage requirements for a retail license or other licenses, it went before the Council instead to try to obtain permission.
In a letter to the city, brewery owners Jay and Mallory Bond said they were not looking to “cause problems with underage drinking” but rather allow young families enjoying downtown to pop in without worrying about finding a babysitter.
“In the first week we have been open, we have had multiple families with young children enter our building in the hopes of coming in, only to have to be turned away,” the Bonds’ letter, sent originally in July, reads. “We are wanting to work with council in order to come up with a plan that will allow these young families to enter but still keep everyone in compliance.”
Councilman Bryan Shuster made an amendment to the request, which passed unanimously, adding stipulations that a parent or legal guardian must accompany the minor while in the brewery and requiring any underage patrons to leave the premises by 9 p.m. as part of the conditions for approval.
The same stipulations were suggested by the applicant in the original request and will be included on signage throughout the brewery.
During the time for public comment, resident Shantel Anderson said she would enjoy being able to visit the brewery with her family and noted the applicants are already going above and beyond to check the identification of potentially underage patrons.
“It just gives us more time as a family to do things we enjoy and spend money at establishments,” Anderson added. “I also know that they have high-tech scanners that they’ve chosen to purchase and use in their business, so they are doing those ID checks more than is required already.”
Councilman Brian Harrington also noted many well-known breweries throughout Colorado and even breweries in Cheyenne have provisions to allow minors to accompany their parents on the premises.
Some council members also expressed concerns about underage drinking and whether other bars in Laramie will try to obtain the same request.
City Attorney Bob Southard said any bar in town can make the same request to Council as the ordinance currently reads, but it is up to Council on whether to approve the request on a case-by-case basis.
Shuster added there is a “heck of a difference” between a microbrewery and a bar, and he wouldn’t be supportive of every bar in town making the same request.
“I probably wouldn’t have done that for every bar in town here,” Shuster said. “There’s probably a list of six or seven of them where I would’ve just said, ‘No, I don’t think so.’”
The Council voted unanimously to allow the request with Shuster’s amendment.