Council on Tuesday signalled approval for what proponents describe as a nanobrewery in downtown Sidney.
A staff recommendation was approved endorsing plans for a nanobrewery at 3-9837 Third St. The business would operate out of a first-floor unit in the commercial/residential building currently under construction and is targeting an opening date in August.
While only the Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch (LCRB) can approve or deny applications, municipalities can shape them by signalling support or opposition after gathering the views of the public. On Tuesday, the number of supporters outweighed opponents of plans by Beacon Brewing Ltd with council signalling their unanimous approval.
Coun. Barbara Fallot said downtown Sidney is entering a new phase with some growing pains. “But I would like to think that is this going to be a positive change into our community,” she said. “Yes, there are going to be more people downtown, but it is also going to create a whole new community vibe.”
The business has applied to LCRB for a liquor license with a lounge area for 45 people. Town staff say that proposed use is permissible under the pub or brew pub categories, which allow alcoholic beverages to be consumed on site where food service is available.
Nanobreweries differ from microbreweries by typically producing no more than 500 litres per brewed batch. They also usually do not distribute product on a large scale outside their tasting rooms.
Written submissions received before Tuesday’s council meeting ran in favour of the business by a margin of 3-to-1.
“Sidney does not have a microbrewery and this would give residents another option for evening and weekend get-togethers with friends and family,” wrote Maureen Newman. “As more condos are going up in Sidney there will be even more people looking for entertainment options. I hope (council) will approve this exciting new proposal.”
Other submissions struck a comparable note, with some going out of their way to stress support for the proposal, while expressing vigorous opposition to cannabis retail outlets.
“OK with the brewery, not OK with more pot shops in Sidney,” wrote Suzan Maskery.
Council also heard from at least one individual who believes the municipality has too much representation in both categories.
“Like with cannabis outlets Sidney has more than enough liquor outlets for retailing or sampling,” wrote Robert Lunn of Albion Properties.
Concerns were voiced about a perceived lack of parking and the potential for odors to come from the brewing process.
Staff previously determined the nanobrewery would not cause any more noise, traffic or other issues affecting nearby residents and businesses than what would typically be experienced in a downtown commercial area.
Town staff said the business will not be storing spent grain onsite – often a primary source of odors – and the proponents Tuesday announced other steps to manage any other potential brewing odours.