Resident seeks variance for home brew business

WILTON – Anyone can buy a kit and brew beer for family and friends, but if you want to sell it, you can’t make it in your kitchen.

The state Liquor Commission says no, David Wirbal told the Zoning Board of Adjustment on Dec. 19.

“They have to be able to visit my brewing at any time, unannounced,” he said. “And under the Constitution, they can’t come in my house.”

Wirbal said he has been brewing beer for about 10 years. “Now I’d like to expand.”

Wirbal has applied for a variance to construct a garden shed type building, up to 140 square feet, on his property at 41 Greene St., in order to pursue his hobby as a home business. Under the rules for a home business, the enterprise has to be carried on within the main dwelling.

“If I had a garage, I could do it there,” Wirbal said, “but I don’t have one.”

The shed is allowed, a lot of people have similar buildings, and the enterprise itself fits into the home business model – no outside employees, no commercial activity at the home, no signs. His advertising is by “word of mouth.”

“This would be an allowed home occupation and not need a permit,” Chairman Neil Faiman said. “But it is outside the house.”

He has a beer manufacturing license from the state, but can’t sell beer at the house. “This isn’t a bar,” he said. “I can’t serve (the beer) to anyone.”

The business would be “closely monitored by the state.”

He makes approximately three cases to a “batch,” and takes them off the property to distribute. He might make two batches a month.

Supplies are currently delivered by UPS, and that won’t increase.

There will be nothing stored outside, all materials used are bio-degradable, there is no smell and no noise “unless you can hear it boiling.”

The main concern of the three neighbors present was the affect of security lights on their homes. Wirbal’s present lighting is too bright, one said, shining into her house.

Tight security of several kinds is required by the state, he said, but “I don’t want to bother anyone. We can fix the lighting.” He and the neighbors agreed to talk about the current lights.

Wirbal said the shed would be properly landscaped.

Board members decided to visit the site to see where on the lot the shed would be and where the lights would shine. Weather permitting, they will make a site visit on Jan. 7, and continue the discussion at their regular meeting on Jan. 9. In case of inclement weather, the visit will be postponed until February.

Wirbal said he did not plan to do anything until spring.

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