Council Grants Conditional Use To Resort Brewing Operation

OCEAN CITY – Assawoman Bay Brewing Co., located in the 45th Street Village, received the official approval to become its own entity, allowing the operation to distribute offsite.

A Conditional Use permit request favorably recommended by the Planning and Zoning Commission was reviewed by the Mayor and City Council this week.

Currently, Assawoman Bay Brewing Co. operates alongside with Shallow Waters Restaurant located in the 45th Street Village under the same ownership of the Sibony family, which owns the remainder of the village including OC Steamers and 45th St. Taphouse restaurants. The brewery is considered presented an accessory use of the restaurant and can only sell its product onsite.

The Conditional Use permit would allow Assawoman Bay Brewing Co. to operate separately from Shallow Waters Restaurant, as it is due to come under separate ownership. The permit would also allow for the brewery to distribute as a wholesaler other than being limited to only distributing to 45th Street Village restaurants.

The Planning and Zoning Commission held a public hearing on Feb. 18 to consider the request. At that time it was recognized   Ocean City Brewing Company went through a stringent process to receive its Conditional Use as it broke the seal in Ocean City for being a wholesale distributor and being partially surrounded by residential neighborhoods. The operations are similar except Assawoman Bay Brewing Co. is surrounded by commercial properties.

Brewmaster Jason Weissberg has been with Assawoman Bay Brewing Co. since its inception last year but has been professionally brewing since 1999. Most recently he served as general manager at Dogfish Head Craft Brewery in Milton, Del.

At that time, Weissberg explained Assawoman Brewing Co. is not a large enough operation to require large trucks to pick up the product for delivery. However, the brewery’s goal is to increase its volume for offsite distribution.

In case of a change in ownership, the commission votes to place stipulations with the approval, including a return to the commission if the brewery moves forward with canning or bottling for approval, grain waste is removed daily, all grain storage remains inside, wholesale draft only, the applicant pay any fees related to the treated wastewater from the brewery and the monitoring of any site plan changes.

Zoning Administrator Blaine Smith explained although the intent of Assawoman Bay Brewing Co. is to increase volume in distribution, it is not the intent to physically expand the operation.

“Other than having some delivery of supplies and distribution of the product there would be no change in the operation,” Smith said. “We do not see any change in the traffic patterns to and from the shopping center even with the distribution of the product.”

The council voted to approve the Conditional Use permit with the same stipulations set in place by the Planning and Zoning Commission, specifically no canning and bottling will occur on site.