by: Allison Latos Updated:
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Craft beer is big business in Charlotte with more breweries and tasting rooms opening this year.
Other entrepreneurs want to get in on the alcohol business but they're asking Charlotte city leaders to change rules.
For six years, Brian Beauchemin has been making cider in his south Charlotte home.
“You can spice it. You can add fruit flavors. You can hop it. I grow my own hops in the backyard," said Beauchemin.
He wants to turn his hobby into his business, called GoodRoad CiderWorks.
"I just came back from a cider making school in Washington state," said Beauchemin. "It is going to be a much different task on a commercial level, but we're excited about the opportunity to be creative with our product."
The head brewer at Triple C Brewing Company told Channel 9 he welcomes new artisans to the brewing scene. There are already nearly a dozen breweries in the Charlotte area.
Work is underway on Hawkins Street for Sycamore Brewing, set up open in late summer or early fall.
Before Beauchemin can serve his cider, he and another cider maker filed a rezoning request.
They are asking Charlotte officials to loosen rules on where cideries can open.
"Right now, we've been restricted to the amount of zones or districts where we can look for property," said Beauchemin. "All we're asking the city to do is treat the cidery just like the brewery."
"What we always want to do is make sure we provide appropriate regulation for any business, especially businesses that serve alcohol," said Charlotte Mayor Pro-tem Michael Barnes.
Barnes said breweries have brought in visitors to the city, and if done right, cideries could do the same.
"It attracts a lot of people who want to sample different types of beverages and I think it attracts a younger class of people," said Barnes.
Beauchemin hopes people can sample his cider by 2015.
A public hearing on his rezoning request will be held in July.
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