The Minnesota Department of Agriculture's Manufactured Food Program licenses and inspects alcohol manufacturers which includes breweries, wineries and distilleries. Any alcohol manufacturer that operates a tasting room or tap room is required to complete a plan review prior to the start of construction. Only the tasting room or tap room of your operation will be included in the formal plan review process. You will be instructed to contact your manufacturing inspector to provide specific requirements for the food production area of the establishment.
Beer, wine, and spirits are considered food and should be identified on the menu. A complete menu must be submitted with you plan review materials. You will also need to include a list of all food and beverages to be served that includes pre-packaged products, alcoholic, and non-alcoholic beverages.
As the operator of a tasting or tap room you wish to prepare and serve food in, the space in which this takes place must meet the minimum requirements of a commercial kitchen.
Tasting and Tap Room Finish Requirements
Room finishes for tasting and tap rooms must meet the standards of the Minnesota Food Code and will be evaluated during the plan review.
- Approved floor finishes are quarry tile, ceramic tile, or a poured flooring system. A four inch cleanable base with an integral coved radius must be installed at the floor and wall juncture.
- Approved wall finishes are fiberglass reinforced plastic (FRP), ceramic title, or stainless steel and must extend a minimum of 5 feet above the finished floor in all equipment storage and splash zone areas.
- Provided there is no food preparation beyond beverage pouring and there is no risk for cross contamination, ceiling finishes do not need to meet the standards of the Minnesota Food Code.
The equipment requirements for tasting and tap rooms are the same as any licensed food establishment and must meet adequate certification standards. An equipment specification sheet for new equipment and photos of existing pieces should accompany each proposed item. The equipment that is submitted will be reviewed based on its intended use so it is important to plan ahead for all of your facility's needs.
Some examples of equipment within a tasting or tap room include:
- Depending on the size of the bar, a minimum of one hand sink.
- A three compartment sink for utensil washing. A dishwasher may be added in addition to a three compartment sink.
- A separate dump sink is not required, but highly encouraged as a method to dispose of excess beverage wast.
- If the operation includes the preparation of produce for garnish or drink ingredients, a separate prep sink may also be required.
Dogs in Taprooms
Some breweries wish to allow well-behaved dogs inside their food establishment as a service to their customers. To allow dogs, other than service animals, inside a food establishment a variance is required. The conditions to allow dogs in a taproom are as follows:
- Proper signage must be posted at each entrance including the language, “Dogs may be present in this establishment”.
- Food (non-beverage) must be prepackaged and prepared offsite at a licensed facility.
- Dogs are not allowed in food and beverage service and storage areas. Food and beverage service, such as taps, must be separated by a physical barrier, i.e. counter or bar, from areas where patrons may sit with dogs in such a manner that a dog on a leash cannot reach said food and beverage service and storage areas.
- Personal hygiene standards must be strictly followed for all staff, especially hand washing and no bare-hand contact with ready-to-eat foods.
- Any area where dogs may be present must be effectively cleaned as needed and daily at a minimum. The written cleaning and sanitation plan for areas exposed to/contaminated by animals must be maintained on sight.
- Employees are prohibited from touching, petting, or handling dogs.
- Dogs must remain on a non-retractable, standard leash no longer than six feet while on-premises and must be house trained.
- A current Animal License from the city, town, or county of residence must be affixed to a properly fitted collar.
- Dangerous or potentially dangerous dogs as defined in MN Statute 347 are not allowed onsite.
- Dogs must not be allowed on furniture or to eat or drink from establishment service ware, except for separate dog water bowls placed on the floor.
- The owner/operator/person-in-charge will require all customers to maintain their dogs under control at all times.
- The owner/operator/person-in-charge will require all customers to dispose of their dogs’ waste properly if allow to eliminate on outside grounds.
- A copy of rules f through l above must be posted in a place easily visible to customers bringing dogs to the establishment.