Bonsai receives approval for expansion

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Whitefish City Council Jan. 2 approved expansion plans for the Bonsai Brewing Project on Wisconsin Avenue.

Bonsai applied for a conditional use permit to expand its operation by relocating some of the business to an adjacent building. It currently operates a microbrewery and tasting room at 549 Wisconsin Ave., but is looking expand the microbrewery into a nearby building at 635 Denver St.

Owner Graham Hart said his only concern is the city’s requirement to pave the entire parking lot that will include 38 parking spaces.

“It’s a huge paved surface,” Hart said. “It’s a little extensive and expensive. It functions the way it is now.”

Currently only about half of the existing parking area is paved, and the remainder will be required to be paved and landscaped per city zoning regulations.

Council did not respond to Hart’s comments on paving, but Mayor John Muhlfeld did compliment Bonsai.

“You’re a great business in the north part of town,” he said. “Keep up the good work.”

Brewery owners plan to move several aspects of their operation into the new building that is due east of the existing facility, including the kitchen and longterm storage of beer aging barrels. The move is expected to provide more room in their existing building for brewery operations and the adjacent lot provides the opportunity for more on-site parking.

Bonsai plans to add a detached walk-in freezer outside the newly obtained building. The brewery and tap room will continue to operate under State Liquor Board requirements, which set hours of operation to 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily, and customers can be served a maximum of 48 ounces of beer per day.

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