Budding brewers in Edmonton will soon have an easier time setting up shop in most parts of the city, if council approves a bylaw to expand the existing rules.  

Later this month, council will vote on two bylaws to rezone the historic neighbourhood of Old Strathcona and the Quarters downtown.

The bylaws would give breweries, wineries and distilleries the green light to open in commercial areas.

"A lot of the plans that we're trying to implement in the central part of the city talk about creating vibrant areas, destination areas for people to go to and enjoy themselves," said Andrew McLellan, a senior planner at the city,.

It was possible for small-scale brewers to get permits in commercial areas before, but the process was complicated and lengthy.

A  development officer had to take several steps and work around the language in existing bylaws. 

"It was cumbersome for both the city and the business owner," McLellan said.

Wayne Sheridan, the owner of Situation Brewing on 81st Avenue and 103rd Street, said it took him took about 14 months to get permits. 

He said the new bylaw will eliminate the complication.

"It really just removes some uncertainty I believe, to both sides," he told CBC News.

Sheridan believes the bylaw will allow the city to approve permits faster and entice would-be micro breweries in starting up.

"It will just really simplify the process for any new breweries, wineries or distilleries, that are thinking of opening in the area." 

Wayne Sheridan

Situation Brewing on 81st Avenue and 103rd Street has been open for over a year. (CBC)

The two new bylaws are in addition to a city-wide rezoning bylaw passed by council on Sept. 11.

The pending ones are specific to Old Strathcona and the Quarters.

"It's about the core heritage area of Old Strathcona, so it includes specific regulations about things like architecture and heritage character," McLellan explained.

For the Quarters between 92nd and 97th Streets and 101st and 103A Avenues, McLellan said the city is trying to redevelop that neighborhood, and in zeroing in on it separately, they can create "customized rules [and] provide incentives."

Craft beer collaboration

A few blocks from Situation, Blind Enthusiasm brews craft beer and dishes up food at the accompanying restaurant, Biera.

Greg Zeschuk

Greg Zeschuk is owner of Blind Enthusiasm and brew pub, Biera, on 78th Avenue and 99th Street, one of the newest breweries in Edmonton. (Greg Zeschuk)

Owner Greg Zeschuk is in the process of building another brewery in the area he calls the "Monolith" at 78th Avenue and 99th Street.

The new facility will produce sour beer, he said.

Sheridan said he doesn't consider new breweries on the block as competitors.

"Our competitors are really the international beer factories," he said, adding that local craft brewers often collaborate and share equipment.

"We all work together and I'd love to help anybody that's interested in starting," he said.

"The more microbreweries there are in Edmonton, the more demand for craft beer there becomes."

Council will be asked to look at the bylaws at a public hearing Nov. 15.

@natashariebe