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Vote may lead to Porterdale ale
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The riverside town of Porterdale may get a little wetter.

The Porterdale City Council has voted to allow brewpubs to manufacture and sell beer on the same premises, paving the way for new restaurants to call Porterdale home. The council also agreed to allow special events venues to sell beer, wine and spirits — including the newly renovated historic gym.

After months of fine-tuning, the city council held two readings of an amendment to the city’s alcohol ordinance at Monday’s work session, and then agreed to it unanimously in a special called meeting Tuesday. The brewpub and special event facilities ordinance went into effect after the vote.

The amendment to the ordinance provides "licenses for the sale of wine and malt beverages, and distilled spirits for consumption on the premises where sold;" allows an exemption from Georgia state laws separating the three-tier system of manufacturing, distribution and sale of malt beverages or beer, paving the way for new drinking establishments to move into the county; and allows the mayor and city council of Porterdale to issue alcoholic beverage licenses to brewpubs or special events facilities for consumption on their premises.

"We’re just trying to be business-friendly," Porterdale City Manager Bob Thomson said. "We have some space (downtown where) it would be good to locate a brewpub. It’s Porterdale; we could have ‘Porterdale Ale,’ or ‘Porterdale Porter.’"

Porterdale’s new ordinance also says a brewpub must have at least 50 percent of its sales in food, while the other half can come from its own craft beer.

Craft breweries, or microbreweries, are smaller independently-owned breweries, such as Sweetwater and Red Hare in Atlanta and the nation’s largest craft brewery, Samuel Adams.

Brewpubs are simply restaurants attached to the craft brewery on the same premises.

Thomson said there are no immediate suitors for a brewpub, but there have been some general inquiries.

"There’s been some talk, that’s all it’s been so far;  people nosing around and talking informally," Thomson said. "We might as well have everything ready."

The 74-year-old Porterdale Memorial Gymnasium, which caught fire Oct. 20, 2005, was set to reopen for a concert Saturday, but the event had to be relocated. However, the gym will be available as a multi-use outdoor venue soon, after a repurposing construction project to the tune of $950,000. Those holding weddings, receptions or other events in the facility will be able to bring alcohol in through their caterers, thanks to the recent changes approved  through the council.

"We’re just trying to position ourselves to take advantage of the river and the gym and the type of markets we want to tap into," Thomson said.