This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2016, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
Two years ago, Andrew Fullmer and his three business partners established Maple Mountain Brew Co. in Provo.
They rented space in an industrial area away from churches, schools and homes and set up their make-shift brewing equipment.
If a zoning change went as planned, they thought, Maple Mountain could be producing and selling its craft beer sometime in 2015, making it the first modern-day brewer in Utah County.
But the home-brewers-turned-entrepreneurs are still waiting for action from the city of Provo, which lacks a zoning law allowing for the manufacturing of beer, wine or spirits.
"We didn't think it would take this long," said Fullmer, adding that Maple Mountain already has its federal alcohol production license; and everything is in line to get the necessary state manufacturing license from the Utah Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (DABC). The only thing holding up their micro-brewery are the Provo zoning laws.
To get the discussion rolling, two members of the City Council must agree to put the topic on an agenda and so far, only David Knecht, who represents East Bay where the Maple Mountain brewery is located is willing to bring the issue to the table.
"They have a location that is suitable," Knecht said, "and they are asking us to consider a zoning change to allow it."
Knecht said he polled residents in his district and found that people were in favor by a two-to-one margin of letting a brewery come into the area, which already is home to a large Budweiser warehouse. With those kinds of numbers, Knecht said he is "inclined, as their representative, to give them time on the agenda."
But in the heart of Utah County, were some 80 percent of the residents are Mormon and abstain from alcohol, beer brewing is a tough sell. There hasn't been a legal beer brewer in Utah County since before Prohibition.
"The real concern is if this will be good for business and bring jobs, or will it erode our moral fabric," Knecht said. "But in my small survey, people were confident in their own beliefs and said it wasn't going to change the dynamics of who does or doesn't drink in Provo."
Fullmer and his Maple Mountain partners have been using social media to get the word out about their dilemma and are encouraging supporters to sign a petition and contact their city council representatives.
Maple Mountain also has started making non-alcoholic root beer, ginger beer and birch beer, and offering samples during Provo's rooftop concert series on the first Friday of each month. "We thought that would help bridge the gap while working to get our license," said Fullmer.
At the soda samplings, many people want to discuss beer, he said. "People are excited to have beer down here."