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City passes ban on new Mission District brewpubs

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Supervisor Hillary Ronen promises that taprooms and breweries will remain unscathed

A block of Mission Street in San Francisco. Photo by EQRoy/Shutterstock

Update: Ronen aide Amy Beinart tells Curbed SF that Ronen amended the legislation to remove the word “brewpub,” considering it too potentially confusing.

On Tuesday the San Francisco Board of Supervisors passed Supervisor Hillary Ronen’s package of planning code amendments unanimously and without debate, including a ban on new brewpubs in the Mission District, as well as a cap on the number of restaurants and bars.

“I want to speak to some misunderstanding, there were a few newspaper articles confused because of the language used,” Ronen said Tuesday, clarifying again that the term “brewpub” does not apply to beer- and wine-based establishments in this context.

“The use of the word brewpubs led people to assume were banning breweries and taprooms,” Ronen said, noting that in this case “‘brewpubs” are associated with a specific kind of Alcohol Beverage Control license that allows breweries to serve hard alcohol, which is a loophole” in existing law about alcohol sales in the Mission District.

According to the paperwork presented along with the amendments:

Community stakeholders are expressing concern over the proliferation of alcohol dispensing establishments [on Mission].

New restaurants and brewpubs in particular are the source of unease. Both uses are allowed to serve not only beer and wine but also distilled spirits with specific State issued alcohol licenses. While healthy retail areas feature these uses, an overabundance can squeeze out other needed uses. [...] Balancing the retail mix is therefore important to neighborhood wellbeing.

“Small local craft beer manufacturing is a great business model; we will continue to allow taprooms,” promised Ronen before the vote.

The package passed on first reading without comment or question, with Board President Malia Cohen noting, “It’s pretty straightforward,” before bringing down the gavel.

Ronen says that the amendments are meant to protect “mom-and-pop businesses” from unfair competition.

Included in the package is a rule capping restaurant and bars in the Mission District at 167—roughly 30 percent of storefronts. Ronen aide Amy Beinart tells Curbed SF that at the current count that leaves room for 23 new additions.