Council approves microbrewery for Johnstone Drive

Microbreweries are an emerging industry in Red Deer

Council passed second and third reading of a proposal to allow a microbrewery site on Johnstone Dr. in the Golden West Industrial Park at their July 9th council meeting.

The applicant, Sawback Brewing Company Inc., currently has a development permit for the manufacturing, processing and distribution of beer and for accessory sales for off premises consumption only. They now wanted to allow for the purchase and consumption of standard sized amounts of craft beer on the site known as a tasting room.

An information package and comment sheets were sent out to 26 landowners within 100 metres of the site. The City received two landowner comments back, with one stating that the proposed development wouldn’t be of nuisance to the area, while the other stated concerns over safety and odour.

A microbrewery, as defined by the land use bylaw, must include a tasting room, a drinking establishment or a restaurant.

Brett Salomons, real estate broker for the applicant, who spoke in support of the amendment, said they had initially looked at the Riverlands district.

“We searched high and low and couldn’t find a place. None of the existing buildings there worked for his establishment,” said Salomons.

He added that the main issues were that of the ceiling height, power requirements and size.

“The proposed use is 8,000 sq. ft. and trying to find that down in Riverlands is pretty difficult.”

Councillor Tanya Handley said the City needs to get to work so that they stop seeing one offs in spot zoning.

“When we first had this presented to us we were shown walkable, touristy spaces with nightlife and historic buildings and a destination, and now this will be our second applied for in the middle of an industrial area and not quite the vibe that was used to sell the use in Red Deer,” she said, adding that she still supports the application.

Coun. Ken Johnston added, “I think this is a project that we can get behind and it is an emerging industry.”

Mayor Tara Veer said that originally when the site exception came to council on previous matters, they recognized it was a use new to the Red Deer community and that it would transition over time.

“There’s a very strong economy and culture emerging around them and I think ideally in the future there would be a concentration in Riverlands,” she said.

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