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July 7, 2015

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Goodman feigns displeasure as Las Vegas gives OK to distilleries

Code change will allow liquor manufacturers to locate in Las Vegas

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Steve Marcus

Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman arrives with showgirls to deliver the annual State of the City address at the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health in downtown Las Vegas on Tuesday, Jan. 11, 2011.

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Stavros Anthony

A change in city code that would allow businesses to manufacture their own liquor in Las Vegas was approved Wednesday by the Las Vegas City Council — but not without some tongue-in-cheek dissent from Mayor Oscar Goodman.

Goodman, known for his signature martinis, was told by City Councilman Stavros Anthony that the new business venture the code is being changed to help would be distilling vodka and scotch. But not gin — the key ingredient of the mayor's favorite drink.

Nevada H&C Distilling Co., co-owner Aaron Chepenik, who also co-owns the Griffin on East Fremont Street downtown, told council members recently that the first liquor they planned to manufacture is vodka, Anthony said.

"And it's gonna be in a pretty cool bottle," Anthony said. The second one they plan to make is single-malt scotch, which will take a while to age, he said.

"But there's no future for gin with this particular business," Anthony said, looking over at the mayor. "I just wanted to let you know about that."

"Forget about you," Goodman said stern-faced, getting laughs. He gruffly asked Councilman Ricki Barlow to make a motion for the vote.

When the vote appeared on the monitor, it showed all the council members voting for the change, except for Goodman.

"May the record really reflect my 'No' vote," Goodman said, getting laughs.

However, he quickly changed it to a "Yes" vote.

The change in the code, which was actually sponsored by Goodman, will amend the city's regulations pertaining to alcoholic beverages to establish a liquor manufacturing license category.

The licensing category will allow the manufacturer of all types of alcoholic beverages, subject to all applicable federal and state laws and regulations.

The semi-annual fee for a license will be $1,000.

Anthony also noted that the owner of the Nevada H&C Distilling Co. praised the city's business-friendly atmosphere, saying it was the best place they had ever tried to open a business, while Los Angeles was the worst.

"So if you're in Los Angeles and want to move your business to Nevada, come on to the City of Las Vegas and we'll be glad to help you out," Anthony said.

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