Ask Pat: Brewery at the Brewery District?

Someone asked—

Is there still talk of a brewery opening up at the Brewery District, or is just a name now in reference to the old Labatt Brewery that was once there? It seems like a microbrewery would be perfect compliment for the development, but it seems that only residential and office blocks remain.

I think the commercial space component of the development is done – what you see is what you are going to get.

Yes, the name is about the history of the site – but I agree it was an ideal spot for a new microbrewery or brewpub. I can’t claim to know a lot about the industry (although I have spent a lot of time at Steel & Oak), but I understand that it is hard to fit a brewery into a mixed-use development like that because a lot of what a brewery does (using lots of water, storing raw materials, creating brewy smells, operating through the night, etc.) more suits light industrial settings. I also hasten to mention that a brewery takes up a lot of space, and new breweries are generally challenged in cash flow in the start-up stage because of all the equiupment they have to buy and install long before they can sell their first pint. The lease rates per square foot at a new development like the Brewery District might pose a bit of a challenge for anyone without deep pockets and a tried-and-true business plan. Hence Brown’s Social House .

However, the OCP is looking at ways to leverage the potential growth of RCH into a revived retail strip on both sides of Columbia from the Brewery District to Braid, and If I had the knowledge, money, or time to open a “Craft”-style Tap House within walking distance of the Sapperton Station, I think the neighbourhood is due…

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