Quick, picture the perfect beer drinking location. I guarantee you pictured something outside, likely on a patio. Don’t lie. I know you. This is why patios are important, but often you can’t just add a patio to a location that doesn’t have one. As we reported last week, this did not stop Bonfire Brewing, which broke ground on a major expansion of their tasting room patio after working diligently with city officials to pass an amendment to make it possible.
In order for Bonfire Brewing to begin this greatly anticipated project, Eagle’s Mayor and Town Board of Trustees had to approve Ordinance 30-2018 amending Chapter 9.28 of the Eagle Municipal Code Concerning Encroachments. This amendment allows Bonfire, a private entity, to “encroach” into small portions of Eagle’s public right of way, making the new patio the first thing that visitors see when they head into town on Highway 6.
We wondered what it took to get a deal like this done for any other brewery out there looking to work with their own jurisdiction in the same way, so we reached out to owner Andy Jesen to find out. Breweries these days are increasingly playing larger roles in their communities, but Jesen has grown this even more, sitting on the city’s Board of Trustees:
“The amendment came about after discussing the patio concept with town staff over the course of the summer,” he told us. “Without it, we wouldn’t have been able to accomplish the wrap-around outdoor space concept, and it probably would not have been worth doing at all. Originally, staff thought we could simply enter into an encroachment agreement, but it turned out the town didn’t have such a thing. Our new town manager — Brandy Reitter — had seen them in previous jobs, specifically Buena Vista, so she encouraged staff to write up enabling language.”
Once that happened, it was about a month before it came before the board of trustees, and when it did, it passed on the first reading.
“I had to disclose that the amendment came about because of a project we were proposing, and it passed unanimously,” Jesen said.
The new footprint will add 700 sq ft of outdoor space that should be usable eight and nine months of the year. And if the per-sq-ft revenue holds, it could generate several hundred thousand dollars in additional revenue.
“At the very least we expect a 15 to 20 percent boost in business in the summer months,” Jesen said. “Again, without the cooperation from town, the project probably doesn’t happen as it would have been about a total of 450 square ft and isolated from the rest of the space.”