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Possible ordinance change would allow bottling of spirits
Liquor production, including fermenting, cooking and distillation are still not allowed in city
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City Council meeting

What: Potential change to Flowery Branch’s alcohol ordinance

When: 6 p.m. Thursday

Where: City Hall, 5517 Main Street, Flowery Branch

A potential change to the city of Flowery Branch’s alcohol ordinance would allow for the bottling of distilled spirits — but not actual liquor production.

The first reading of the proposed change was at City Council’s Nov. 13 meeting; a second reading and vote are expected for the upcoming Thursday meeting.

“There would be no fermenting, no cooking, no distilling,” City Clerk Melissa McCain said at the meeting prior to the first reading. “ ... In the code is just the addition of the word ‘manufacturing,’ which will include bottling.”

Alex Kogan is behind the requested change to the ordinance. His Flowery Branch-based company already deals with beer and wine, but the change would allow him to import liquor — his particular plans call for whiskey and bourbon — and bottle it for distribution.

City employees are careful to say the change does not allow for the actual manufacturing of alcohol.

“By including the word ‘manufacturing,’ is that going to open the door up for the allowing of stills to be built in Flowery Branch?” Councilman Fred Richards asked during a work session prior to the Nov. 13 meeting. “Can they actually manufacture?”

City Attorney Ron Bennett said that was not the case.

“He cannot do it because we would have to adopt some legislation that details how and what you can use to manufacture distilled spirits,” Bennett said. “This (ordinance change) does not allow for these craft distilleries.”

While Kogan’s initial intent is simply to import the liquor and then bottle it for distribution, he does plan on having a distillery at some point.

“What I want to do in Flowery Branch is to open a distillery where we will make, produce our own whiskey and bourbon, and sell it in the United States and sell it to other countries,” he said.

“I will look into the future potential possibilities for distilling as well, if the local law permits,” he wrote via a follow-up email. “On the federal and state level, either operation classified as (Distilled Spirits Permits), it does not matter whether you are only a bottler, you still have to go through the same license process.

“If this is the case with Flowery Branch, it will be great,” he added. “If the local law does not permit distilling, then we will not do it here. But in any case, our initial intention is to start with a bottling facility only, and perhaps potentially grow ourselves into a distillery, if the laws permit.”

City Council next meets at 6 p.m. Thursday at City Hall, 5517 Main Street, in downtown Flowery Branch.

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