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METERED MEAD: Brooks Cooper says the city of Portland’s permitting requirements for his mead-making company are an unfair burden. “I’m a progressive,” he says, “and they’re making me sound like Mitt Romney.” - IMAGE: nataliebehring.com
METERED MEAD: Brooks Cooper says the city of Portland’s permitting requirements for his mead-making company are an unfair burden. “I’m a progressive,” he says, “and they’re making me sound like Mitt Romney.” - IMAGE: nataliebehring.com

Mead It And Weep

Small craft brewers say the city is making them pay big-time regulatory costs.

March 4th, 2015 12:01 am AARON MESH | Willamette Week

Brooks Cooper dreamed for more than a decade of ditching his law practice to make sparkling mead, an alcoholic beverage created by fermenting honey.

Last year, he and a friend took the plunge, founding Stung Fermented in a Northeast Portland warehouse along I-84.

Cooper has invested $62,000 of his own money in the company, which he hopes will produce 2,000 barrels in its first year—a tiny amount even by the standards of craft breweries.

But it’s one expense of $3,735, a fraction of his startup capital, that has him feeling…well, stung.

That’s the cost of a 3-foot-tall, stainless steel and concrete box that city sewer regulators are forcing Cooper to install.

The box, called a “wastewater inspection port,” lets inspectors from the Bureau of Environmental Services measure how much organic material Stung Fermented is pouring into the city’s wastewater system.

It’s a requirement that’s only supposed to apply to BES’s large industrial customers. Cooper showed city officials calculations demonstrating he planned to dump far less water than what city code says triggers the requirement.

Their response? Install the port anyway, or forget about a city permit.

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About Rob

Rob
A novice mead maker, but a huge mead enthusiast! I'm also the owner and Site Administrator of TheMeadery.net and reside in Manchester, New Hampshire.