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DDA supports resolution allowing distillery to sell alcohol for off-premise consumption

The resolution will now head to the Cheyenne city council for deliberation and action.

Chronicles Distilling in downtown Cheyenne. (Photo courtesy of Chronicles Distilling)

CHEYENNE, Wyo. — During its Thursday meeting, the Downtown Development Authority board supported a resolution that would allow a Cheyenne distillery to sell its alcohol for off-premise consumption at multiple summer events.

The board members voted to send the resolution to the governing body for deliberation and action, with Councilmember Pete Laybourn, who is the council representative for the board, being the only one voting against it.

Chronicles Distillery, which is located at 1506 Thomas Road, is requesting to sell its liquor during the following events:

  1. Brewfest & Friday Nights on the Plaza, occurring on June 16
  2. Friday Nights on the Plaza, occurring on June 23
  3. Friday Nights on the Plaza, occurring on July 21
  4. Cheyenne Day, occurring on June 26
  5. Friday Nights on the Plaza, occurring on June 28
  6. Friday Nights on the Plaza, occurring on Aug. 25
  7. Mini Putt Putt Golf, occurring on Sept. 24

Although Chronicles is spearheading this amendment to the city’s open-container ordinance and is the only distillery downtown, the resolution — if passed and then added into city code — would allow for future distilleries to sell on those days as well.

This is not the first time a request to amend the city’s open-container laws, which regulate drinking in public by limiting open alcoholic beverage containers in certain areas, has been brought up for council consideration.

In April 2021, the governing body passed an ordinance allowing resturants, bars and other places to sell malt beverages and wine containers for off-premise drinking from Memorial Day until Labor Day each year. Most recently in November 2022, an ordinance was passed authorizing establishment to sell malt liquors for people to drink in the downtown area year-round. This ordinance is specific to malt liquor and does not include hard liquor or wine.

Aaron Lesher, co-owner of Chronicles, said the distillery wants to serve mixed drinks during the special days. Staff would not serve straight shots and all cocktails would be diluted to have an alcohol content “lower than most of the beer and wine handed out,” Lesher said.

“All we’re asking for is a chance to prove ourselves and be a part of the community and have our customers enjoy themselves with our establishment as they do others in the community,” he said during the meeting.

Board member Dave Teubner, who favors the resolution, suggested the board should amend it so that Chronicles can serve year-round

“I worry about the confusion to the audience,” he said during the meeting. “Which days you can carry out of Chronicles and what days you can’t. I think that feels really goofy to me.”

Lesher said he didn’t want distilleries to be including year-round just yet, in case councilmembers might disapprove of the idea. The listed dates are a “trial-run,” he said.

“I would rather play the game and follow the rules and get in even if it’s going to take a few years to get [there],” he said.

Laybourn, who is against the resolution, said it would create a special benefit for one establishment to serve mixed drinks. Until the DDA understands what other downtown restaurants and bars think, Laybourn says the resolution is “premature.”

“The individuals who are downtown and wanting to walk the streets with a drink, I just can’t imagine that the other business that sell the same product don’t need to be consulted,” he said during the meeting.