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Gainesville City Council gives first approval for brewery
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• Gainesville City Council has voted to change insurance providers for several employee health care plans.

Lincoln Financial Group has been selected to manage life and disability insurance for the city, while Assurant Employee Benefits will now provide dental, vision, cancer, accident and critical illness coverage.

• Finally, the council has given a first vote to amending its recreation and parks ordinance.

Changes include prohibitions on biking, skating or other activities on city tennis courts, as well as language meant to crack down on vandalism at city parks.

Joshua Silavent

Gainesville City Council has given the initial go-ahead for Left Nut Brewing Co. to launch in the midtown area.

In a 4-2 vote Tuesday, the council supported rezoning a brick warehouse at the corner of Maple and Parker streets, near Wild Wing Café, from general business to light industrial.

That’s where Pap Datta, a Forsyth County resident and former Hewlett-Packard executive, wants to build the brewery of his dreams.

The council also voted to amend its alcoholic beverage ordinance, which allows for the licensing of a brewery.

A second reading and final vote will be held on both matters at the Oct. 21 council meeting.

Rick Foote, who oversees research and development for the brewery, told the council he’s thankful for the community’s support, adding that Forsyth County was less welcoming.

“LNB is more than just a brewery,” he said, adding that he and his business partners want to be a part of revitalizing midtown and enhancing the community through charitable giving. “We share your mission and vision.”

Council members George Wangemann and Bob Hamrick voted against the brewery, primarily as an objection to its name, which they said is indecent and inappropriate.

Datta told The Times last month the name for the brewery originated when he was sitting around with friends and colleagues a few years ago talking about their dream jobs. And that silly joke turned into a slogan.

Datta said he believes customers will understand the humor behind it, perhaps even be drawn to his beers because of it.

The craft beer world is full of unique names. It’s part of the culture of the industry.

“On a crowded shelf, I think this will prompt people to say I’ll try it just for the name,” Datta said of his beers. “I think that’s a huge marketing benefit.”

Councilman Sam Couvillon said he understood the rationale behind the name and had no problems with it.

Mayor Danny Dunagan cast the deciding vote. Four votes are needed for the council to pass any measure.

 

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