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Dexter Village Council Approves Liquor License for Jolly Pumpkin Expansion

Northern United Brewing Company plans to move operations to Dexter and open a distillery and tasting room.

Northern United Brewing Company's plans to expand in Dexter received approval from the village council on Tuesday.

The council unanimously approved United Brewing's application for a liquor license, micro-brewer license, small wine maker license, and small distiller license at its meeting.

Northern United Brewing Company, LLC., the parent company of Jolly Pumpkin, submitted a development proposal to the Dexter Planning Commission to redevelop the former Martinrea building, located at 2319 Bishop Circle East in the industrial park in Dexter as a beer and wine distillery with a tasting room.

The plant is expected to serve Jolly Pumpkin's three locations in Dexter, Ann Arbor and Traverse City, while the tasting room would be open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Trustee Paul Cousins said he's excited to see the expansion move forward, about being too restrictive with the permit process.

"The question I have is what if (Jolly Pumpkin) felt they wanted to expand their hours for a one day deal like an Oktoberfest celebration. What is the process? Are they limited to 10 p.m. because that's what is written on their application?"

Village President Shawn Keough said if the company planned a special event that required its tasting room to be open past 10 p.m., owners could ask the council to grant an exception.

According to Allison Bishop, community development director, Northern Brewing plans to purchase the 85,000-square-foot building and relocate its headquarters from Ann Arbor to Dexter. In order to do that, however, zoning approval is required because the business would be located in a research and development district, which does not currently have provisions for a tasting room.

Bishop said the Planning Commission could grant a special land use request for the company, or add the manufacturing of beverages and accessory tasting/sampling rooms to the permitted uses within the district.

Bishop said the Planning Commission will discuss the special land use at its meeting on June 4.

In other action:

  • Sgt. Keith Flores of the Washtenaw County Sheriff's Office addressed the council to introduce himself to the community. Flores was transferred to the sheriff's substation in May to fill the command vacancy left by Sgt. Beth Gieske, who was re-assigned to Ypsilanti.
Pat May 30, 2012 at 07:46 PM
Not located downtown? BIG mistake!
Mike May 31, 2012 at 06:47 PM
Not. Empty factory space in the Industrial Park is a great spot for this expansion. Thank you Council for a wise move.
Andrew June 01, 2012 at 05:28 PM
I’m a huge Jolly Pumpkin fan and as a resident of the community I applaud the move to get a tasting room in Dexter! However, I agree with Pat that not locating it in downtown Dexter is a BIG mistake. With all the amazing development (the new walkways, the new library and some amazing stores and restaurants) downtown Dexter is actually on the map as a place to spend time. The last place I want to spend my free time is in a converted warehouse located in a suburban industrial complex even if the beer is amazing—I know I’m not alone in this sentiment. If this is indeed the location I will continue to frequent the Jolly Pumpkin in downtown Ann Arbor where I can enjoy the timeless architecture and sit on the back patio. This is truly a missed opportunity!

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