Bill allowing Woonsocket brewery headed to governor
Legislation would enable creation of taproom on North Main St.
STATE HOUSE – Legislation sponsored by Sen. Melissa A. Murray and Rep. Michael A. Morin to help pave the way for a new brewery in downtown Woonsocket is now headed to the governor.
The legislation allows the Woonsocket City Council to approve a Class B liquor license for Lops Brewing at 122 North Main St.
The Senate version of the bill (2019-S 0038) passed the House today and will be transmitted to the governor. The House passed its identical version of the bill (2019-H 5053) Feb. 26, and last week a Senate committee recommended it for passage by the full Senate. The House bill is cosponsored by Rep. Robert D. Phillips (D-Dist. 51, Woonsocket, Cumberland) and Rep. Stephen M. Casey (D-Dist. 50, Woonsocket).
The brewery is planned for a building within the Downtown Overlay District established by the city in 2015. The property is currently being rehabilitated with business space on the ground floor and apartments on the three floors above. Brewer Sean Lopolito of Plainville has been working to open a 40-seat taproom on the first floor plus seasonal patio seating, and conduct brewing in the basement. Lopolito plans to offer trivia and live music, and the building’s owner has said he views the business as perfect for his plans to make the building and its apartments attractive to young professionals.
Senator Murray was a member of the City Council when the Downtown Overlay District was created and made downtown revitalization a top priority. She said she was happy to sponsor the legislation – which is the first bill she introduced as a new legislator – to help bring the business downtown.
“A small brewery is a perfect fit for the effort to revitalize downtown Woonsocket. We now have a number of high-quality restaurants and bars, plus the Stadium Theatre, which has become a regional attraction with national acts and popular large productions. This is an exciting opportunity for downtown Woonsocket, one that could help in the effort to bring in visitors and help develop the neighborhood and its atmosphere,” said Senator Murray (D-Dist. 24, Woonsocket, North Smithfield).
The legislation allows a commonly granted exemption to location limits, enabling the City Council to approve the brewery’s license if the brewery meets all other requirements.
“The growth of small breweries and distilleries in the Blackstone Valley and around the state has created exciting new opportunities for Woonsocket. They are helping to make our city an inviting destination, where people enjoy spending their time and their money at our local businesses. Lops will be an outstanding addition to our growing dining and entertainment scene downtown,” said Representative Morin (D-Dist. 49, Woonsocket).
Representative Morin has been an advocate for the expansion of the local brewing industry and was the sponsor of the law passed in 2016 that allowed breweries and distilleries to sell limited amounts of their products to visitors for sampling and off-site consumption.
For more information, contact:
Meredyth R. Whitty, Publicist
State House Room 20
Providence, RI 02903