Politics in Florida are a tricky thing. From hanging chads to the election of questionable candidates, just when we seem to think we are gaining a little respect again in the country, something ridiculous happens. This is true even down to the local governments. Like Tampa, home of Cigar City Brewing.
Cigar City opened a tasting room last year to much success. By being able to extend their hours of operation and sell and serve beer on premises, this local business was able to increase its employee count from 2 to 22. Serving award-winning craft beer in a comfortable and friendly environment, they have operated without incident, which few other establishments can claim. In a short time, Cigar City has achieved national (and international) recognition for its creative and consistently excellent craft beer. In a state that has been often referred to as a "beer wasteland," the fact that their beers are highly sought after is a testament to what owner Joey Redner and head brewer Wayne Wambles have been doing.
Now they are facing a huge problem. Three members of Tampa City Council have voted to not make the wet-zoning (required to allow the serving of alcohol) permanent, which would essentially force the closing of the Tasting Room. As Joey has said, this means "no more special events, no more limited release parties, no beer for sale at all at the Tasting Room."
So as the citizenry, we have a responsibility to make our voices heard. Tell the Tampa City Council not to vote for killing jobs. Tell them not to vote for limiting growth. Tell them to reward success and not punish it. Tell them that local businesses are watching. And so are those that might wish to do business in Tampa in the future.
These are the three members of Council who voted against Cigar City:
Curtis Stokes - Curtis.Stokes@tampagov.net
These are the Council members who voted for Cigar City:
Mary Mulhern - Mary.Mulhern@tampagov.net
Yvonne Yoli Capin - firstname.lastname@example.org
Joseph Caetano - Joseph.Caetano@tampagov.net
Finally, the member who was absent. Let Charlie Miranda know you support CCB and craft beer and are counting on his yes vote on December 2nd.
Charlie Miranda - http://www.tampagov.net/dept_City_Council/about_us/Charlie_Miranda.asp
Many times the actions of government have no discernible impact on our daily lives. Zoning rules, procedural goings-on, and so forth. But this is one of those issues that affects us directly. It affects friends in a very real way, i.e.: it could cost them their jobs. It affects the local community, the local economy, and the status of craft beer in Tampa Bay.