by Chuck Hallett | The big vote on brewery lounges is tomorrow at city council, and what was looking like a slam dunk on the side of awesome is now in jeopardy. The short version of that link is that a group of people (the Campaign for Culture) feel the proposed restrictions on are bad. I’m not going to pick a fight on that particular issue; the three restrictions, while reasonable, are totally just a salve to make lounges less threatening to bars. For the record, the three limitations are:
– Must close by 11pm
– Must be smaller than 860 square feet
– Cannot host more than two special events per month
What I am going to take issue with, though, is CFC’s approach of “if we can’t get what we want, we’re taking the ball and going home.” Yup, they are fighting against allowing lounges AT ALL unless those three restrictions are removed. Honestly, it’s like being three months into a relationship and refusing first time sex with your girlfriend because she won’t let you put the horse in the bathtub full of jello.
Having brewery lounges at all is so vastly better than NOT having them, that we’ll take this amendment, horse-less jello tub and all. (What? No horse? What about a goat?) While, yes, an amendment lacking those restrictions would be even better, what would be much worse is the many months of additional time it would take to get it. We have two awesome breweries about to open in Brewery Creek (33 Acres and Brassneck), both of which are absolutely counting on their lounges to generate much-needed revenue to stay afloat.
The other dirty little secret is, of course, that the current batch of breweries don’t even want those three restrictions lifted. None are proposed for more than 860 sf, and none want to be open past 11pm. That’s what pubs are for, and brewery lounges are absolutely not pubs.
Anyway, enough prelude. The whole point of this post is to get people to send emails to the mayor and council supporting this amendment. Those cranky bastards at CFC are doing this on their side, resulting in 12 letters against to just 1 for. I’ve taken all the hard work out of this for you, and drafted a form letter you can use below. The email address you want is email@example.com and the letter is below.
I am writing you today in support of amending the Zoning and Development By-Law to allow lounge use accessory to a Brewing or Distilling use.
The burgeoning craft brewing and distilling industry supports a key demand of local residents: to purchase merchandise from, and thereby support, local businesses.
Vancouver residents increasingly recognize the quality products being produced by local breweries and distilleries, but unfortunately have to retire to their homes to enjoy these products beyond a small sample. Allowing lounges will encourage a sense of community around these new businesses, as well as award local producers a much-needed revenue stream, encouraging further expansion of this new niche.
Additionally, our rapidly increasing local brewery and distillery scene has drawn the attention of visiting tourists, many of whom are dismayed to learn that the extent of their sampling is limited to a single sample per day. Adopting an amendment that will erase this restriction, and bring Vancouver breweries and distilleries more inline with businesses in other jurisdictions will be extremely beneficial to local businesses and residents.
I trust that you will consider the interests of both local businesses and residents when you take this matter under consideration on July 9th, and vote in favour this amendment.
YOUR NAME ETC.
Please folks, do this. It’s actually important.
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Chuck Hallett lives and works in downtown Vancouver. His passionate obsession with craft beer borders on insanity. When not attempting to single-handedly financially support the local brewing industry through personal consumption, he spouts off on his award-winning beer-themed blog: BarleyMowat.com. If you’re in a good beer bar reading this, odds are he’s sitting next to you. Be polite and say hi.