The city of Los Angeles Public Works Committee has agreed to reduce water discharge permit and inspection fees for microbreweries following an appeal by craft brewery members of the Greater San Fernando Valley Chamber of Commerce.
The committee voted unanimously Wednesday to update its payment schedule to take size into account when assessing wastewater fees for the brewing industry. Currently, brewers pay the same amount for water discharge permit applications and quarterly inspections regardless of whether they produce 6 million barrels of beer a year or 6,000. Present laws mandate that on top of a $450 application fee, breweries must also shell out roughly $2,000 a year for inspections.
“These fees add up,” Bryan Olson, owner of 818 Brewing in Canoga Park, told the Business Journal.
818 Brewing is even smaller than a microbrewery, which is defined as a brewery that produces less than 15,000 barrels of beer per year. It is on track this year to produce 250 barrels, giving it the designation of a “nano-brewery,” Olson said.
“Whatever they spill over at Budweiser, that’s about the amount we brew,” he said, referring to the Anheuser-Busch brewery in Van Nuys.
The updated fee schedule proposed by the breweries cuts fees by about half for microbreweries and offers an exemption for smaller ones, according to Olson. The money saved will allow 818 Brewing to expand and hire employees for its new tasting room, which it is in the process of opening. As more microbreweries look to set up in the region, the move also will benefit the local economy as a whole, he explained.
“It’s a win for the breweries but also for the city,” Olson said. “These are the little things that add up that were keeping breweries from coming to L.A. More breweries in the city is good for both parties.”