Gary Schiff accused of making classist liquor store-brewpub distinction

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Gary Schiff's Facebook
Schiff likes Taco Taxi and 'premium priced' locally crafted beers.
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Meg Tuthill may not be interested in changing ordinances for specific businesses, but Gary Schiff is open to the idea.

Schiff, responding to the controversy Tuthill created with a voicemail she left for a prospective business owner who is being deterred from opening a brewpub at the corner of 25th Street and Hennepin Avenue South because the property he wants to use for the business is too close to Jefferson Elementary, told the Southwest Journal he thinks an ordinance change is "worth looking at." But the allegedly classist words he used to explain his view are drawing criticism.

"I think there's a big difference between a liquor store that attracts panhandlers being located near a school and a microbrewery that is only open after school hours and attracts a clientele that is willing to pay [a] premium price for a locally crafted beer," Schiff said. City ordinance currently bars all businesses that sell off-sale booze, including brewpubs, from operating on a lot that comes within 300 feet of a school's property line.

But some folks took to Schiff's Facebook page to take umbrage with the "clientele that is willing to pay a premium price" remark. Here's one example:

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Schiff saw fit to respond:

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But his response still left some feeling that an element of classism is at work in Schiff's liquor store-brewpub distinction:

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Alleged classism aside, making a distinction in the ordinance between brewpubs that only sell growlers and full-fledged liquor stores would allow the proposed Pryes Brewing Company to open at 25th and Hennepin while continuing to prohibit full-fledged liquor stores from opening near schools.

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