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Rehoboth Beach passes brewpub ordinance

Karl Malgiero
Delaware Public Media


Rehoboth Beach commissioners have unanimously passed a brewpub ordinance that met opposition earlier this year.


The new ordinance defines brewpubs in the city’s restaurant code and adds some regulations to their operation.

Rehoboth Beach Mayor Sam Cooper said the city’s previous restaurant code didn’t expressly permit “breweries,” which means a brew pub could not technically operate in the city.


This update changes that.


“It makes clear that brewery pubs are a permitted use in the city and obviously sets out some of the conditions. Without this change there could have been a question whether a brewery was actually a permitted use in the city,” Cooper said.


Dogfish Head is currently the only brew pub in the city and had raised objections during the crafting of the ordinance.


It was concerned its brewing operation would count towards its seating area, limiting the amount of customers it could serve.


The mayor changed the ordinance so that brewing operations and grain storage won’t count against the dining or bar area limits, although they can only make up half the floor space of the facility.


Before this ordinance, all restaurants in the city had been limited to 5,000 square feet. If you’re a brew pub that leaves little room for dining once you account for a kitchen, a brew operation, storage and disabled bathrooms.


The new ordinance gets rid of that 5,000 square foot limit and allows restaurants and brew pubs 2,500 total square feet of dining area and 500 square feet of bar area, regardless of the size of their kitchen or brew operation.


"If people can't sit or stand there, it doesn't count towards the 2,500 square feet,” Cooper said.


New brewpub regulations include a barrel limit of 4,000 per year (approximately 1.3 million bottles of beer) and a requirement to obtain a permit of compliance.


Dogfish Head ultimately supported the ordinance.


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