DAN AND BARB NEES, of Owosso, are shown outside their Main Street building in Westown Owosso, which is to become a brewing company in the future. The evening prior on Monday, Aug. 15, the couple attended the Owosso City Council meeting at city hall where the council approved their on-premises tasting room permit. Dan and Barb are two of four partners, which also includes Don and Melissa Hall, invested in Barrister Brewing Co., LLC – working toward rehabilitating the historic building to eventually house a microbrewery business and restaurant.
Microbreweries have to obtain licensing through the Michigan Liquor Control Commission and there are many legal layers involved in the Small Business Association process, as well. In preparation to apply for licensing, the partners first needed approval on the tasting permit application. A draft of the application was submitted to the city for approval. Following approval, the owners can now continue forward with their plans, though the permit is an early step in a lengthy undertaking.
Owosso City Manager Nathan Henne assured council during the Monday evening meeting that the location for the microbrewery met with liquor licensing rules regarding proximity to schools and churches and that staff was comfortable recommending council approve the permit.
The eventual impact of the new business will see a positive, commercial addition to Westown; the creation of nine new jobs; two fully remodeled, upper floor residential units and the introduction of Owosso’s only brewery/restaurant.
During the meeting, Dan told council the building needs considerable work, sharing they had purchased it in March. He estimates the partners will be investing between $1.25 and $1.5 million into the building. Dan has been a brewer since the early 2000s and Don is a chef. “We are excited to help Westown revitalize,” he stated.
(Independent Photo/Karen Mead-Elford)