190613_alcohol

A concert series that begins this weekend at River Bluff Brewery may not have been possible last year. An ordinance passed in January changed the code to allow outdoor sales of alcohol in the Frederick Avenue corridor.

A change to the city’s code approved earlier this year has led to several events on Frederick Avenue, including a concert series that begins this weekend.

In January, the St. Joseph City Council approved a change to the Code of Ordinances that allows caterers licenses to be issued along the Frederick Avenue corridor from 11th to 22nd streets.

This change allows business owners to get a permit to sell alcohol in cups outside for events so long as they are within 350 feet of the center line of Frederick Avenue, between the intersection of Frederick and 11th Street, between the intersection of Frederick and 22nd Street or within the Downtown entertainment district and farther than 300 feet from a residence.

Prior to the change, businesses on Frederick could only have two permits per year to sell alcohol outside, and had to be more than 300 feet from a residence.

Edison Derr, a co-founder of River Bluff Brewing on Frederick, said he and his business approached the city to find out how it could host more than just two outdoor events with alcohol per year.

“They told me to approach City Council and talk to them,” Derr said. “That’s kind of what we did. We worked with them to find the best way to do that.”

Beginning this weekend, River Bluff Brewing will host four outdoor concerts in their parking lot. These shows, sponsored by News-Press NOW, will feature the Artimus Pyle Band, Uncle Kracker, Carly Pearce and David Lee Murphy.

“A concert’s not a concert if you’re not able to drink and eat and hang out and enjoy the good times,” Derr said. “Bringing in these names, we felt like not being able to serve alcohol wasn’t a possibility.”

While River Bluff Brewing founders were a part of the ordinance’s beginning, Derr said the changes to the code have benefited the Frederick corridor as a whole.

“It’s helped a lot of the businesses,” Derr said. “Friedrich’s Market, Belle Epoch have had a couple of outdoor events and then on St. Patty’s Day there were a few up and down Frederick Avenue.”

Director of Planning and Community Development Clint Thompson agrees that the change to the code is a good thing for businesses in the area.

“I think the approval of this ordinance to give the Frederick corridor every opportunity to succeed is a step in the right direction,” Thompson said. “It takes this program, that can be a caveat to allow other businesses to want to locate in the area.”

Thompson said the recent success in Downtown St. Joseph grew due to events being held that drew in a crowd, and he expects the same success to come from events that take place on Frederick.

The ordinance requires that an outdoor area where alcohol is being served be fenced off and have adequate security. Permits are needed for each individual event or concert including a permit to close down streets temporarily.

Brendan Welch can be reached

at brendan.welch@newspressnow.com. Follow him on Twitter: @SJNPWelch.