Battle brewing over Birmingham brewery expansion

A "brew-ha ha" in Birmingham as a popular brewery looks to expand.

Opposition is growing against Griffin Claw Brewing Company as some neighbors say parking is already a big problem.

Griffin Claw opened the restaurant and brew pub in the summer of 2013 and since then. it's been big hit. 

But so big they would now like to expand their operation. The beer that's brewed here you'll also find at Kroger and Whole Foods grocery stores. 

They distill spirits there too, but would like to add a room to store bourbon barrels. They don't need more seats, just some room to store the bourbon so the barrels can age before consumption.

"We want to put a cellar house on the back of the parking lot," said Scott LePage, the owner of Griffin Claw. "Kind of butted up against where Robot Garage is. So we can take our bourbon barrels and make bourbon, and age them."

Griffin Claw says they'll need to cut into their parking lot and eliminate some parking spots. And therein lies the rub. 

About 14 neighbors signed a petition saying parking in the area already gets swallowed up faster than you can pour a bourbon on the rocks.

"A normal Thursday, Friday, Saturday night, you can't park in front of your house," said neighbor Barb McIntosh. "And your neighbor can't park in front of his house. And it just goes on, all the way down the block."

McIntosh has lived in Birmingham for 15 years, she's across the street and a few doors down from the Griffin Claw - and says her street Bowers now gets jammed.

"We've adjusted to the fact we have a brewery," McIntosh said. "But we have a tremendous parking situation."

Neighbors on Bowers Street say they can park in their own driveways and garage but spots in front of the house or on the street are hard to find when Griffin Claw is open. . 

"With Griffin Claw patrons parking, they are not paying attention to the yellow curbs," said Brian Renner, a neighbor. "We have difficulty making a left or a right turn out onto Eaton, a very busy street."

LePage says the neighborhood has been a good fit for Griffin Claw.

"We love the neighborhood," he said. "Birmingham is the best. We are very excited and we want to expand. But (we're) at a point where it doesn't make sense to fight against it either. We are asking for options."

LePage will present his plans for expansion to the city council Monday.
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