People will be able to enjoy a glass of craft beer or wine at the latest addition to Tauranga's booming food truck scene.
The District Licensing Committee has approved the sale of beer and wine starting next Friday, November 4, at the Street Food Union event in Soper Reserve, Mount Maunganui.
Yesterday's hearing of the application by Glenn Meikle of Bay of Plenty Brewery was opposed by police who said it amounted to his business, the Rising Tide Brewhouse and Eatery, increasing its footprint every Friday night on to an adjoining council reserve.
It took the committee less than half an hour to decide on the application which related to the event operated by Little Big Markets owner Rachelle Duffy.
Street Food Union has been running since August without a liquor licence, with people having the option of either eating their meals on tables and chairs laid out in the reserve, or taking the food into Rising Tide to allow an alcoholic drink with the food.
The committee also granted a special licence allowing Mr Meikle to run a concert on Soper Reserve tomorrow nightfeaturing Anna Coddington.
Ms Duffy said the special licence for Street Food Union's event on the reserve will cover six consecutive Fridays from November 4 to December 9. A further application would be lodged by November 17 for special licences to cover every Friday evening for the rest of daylight saving until the end of April.
The special licence will allow Mr Meikle to park his caravan dispensing his boutique range of beers and local wines next to the food trucks.
Ms Duffy said they were pretty happy with the decision which, at the end of the day, was cutting a path not just for one event, but everybody.
''It's not easy putting on events. It's not laughing all the way to the bank.''
She said Street Food Union was using a seldom-used reserve, with up to 30 kids playing on the reserve every Friday evening.
Mr Meikle was questioned by police licensing Sergeant Trevor Brown at yesterday's hearing.
The event had run into problems from people trying to smuggle drinks out of the bar and onto the reserve where tables and chairs were set up next to the four food trucks.
Mr Brown said it was business as usual for Rising Tide and Mr Meikle was using Street Food Union to increase the footprint of his bar onto the reserve every Friday night.
Mr Meikle replied: ''I disagree. Isn't it better to have a licensed area where we can control the consumption of liquor.''
Security guards would stand at the link between Rising Tide and the event, and at the Newton St entrance to the event which would become fenced off if a liquor licence was granted.
Committee chairman Murray Clearwater asked whether the overflow from the bar would go to Street Food Union. ''Will it increase your business?''
Mr Meikle responded that they were trying to achieve a family orientated event that was sustainable for people to come to and enjoy food in a controlled environment.
''If it grows, great, but if it doesn't, it doesn't - I can't answer that question.''
Quizzed again whether Street Food Union was an extension of his bar, he said the event was about food, running from 5pm to 9pm.
Mr Brown asked him why the event needed a special licence if people could pop into his bar to drink. Mr Meikle said it just so happened that the reserve was the best area to run the event.
Mr Brown said it was hard to determine whether people were drinking alcohol or soft drinks when they crossed into the event from the bar.
Mr Meikle said he had stopped letting people take soft drinks across to Street Food Union. Security also meant that people could not sneak through to the event with a beer from the bar.
Licensing commissioner David Stewart asked whether setting it up every Friday made it more of a bar-in-the-park rather than an event.''
Mr Meikle said it was an event that catered for something that was needed to help make the city more vibrant.
Ms Duffy said she was not making money from the event and it was more about the branding of Street Food Union. The best evening had attracted 100 people and her losses would have been greater if she was not able to run it next to Rising Tide, with the infrastructure it provided including a power supply for lighting.
Events organised and run by Glenn Meikle
- Mount Vibes New Year's Eve Festival 2013-14
- One Love festivals 2012-16
- Backyard Beats, Hamilton Arts Festival, 2015-16