Calgary

Fewer restrictions on craft brewing in Calgary as council amends zoning rules

Councillors signed off on changes to land-use rules that will make it easier for breweries to spring up throughout the city and enable to them to sell their products on-site without jumping through more hoops.

Breweries will be allowed in more areas and be able to sell their products on site, including opening pubs

Kris Fiorentino, one of the owners of the soon-to-be-opened Cold Garden Beverage Company in Inglewood, is happy with zoning changes that will reduce her red tape. (Allison Dempster/CBC)

City council hoisted its collective mug on Monday and gave a mighty cheers to the local brewing industry. 

Councillors signed off on changes to land-use rules that will make it easier for breweries, as well as distilleries and wine makers, to spring up throughout the city and enable to them to sell their products on-site without jumping through more hoops. 

"It allows us to improve our margins, so we can expand quickly, we can create more jobs, the industry itself can expand quickly. And I think that that will hopefully create an economic boost for the city," said Kris Fiorentino, co-owner of Cold Garden Beverage Company, a new brewery under construction in Inglewood. 

Brewpubs

The changes specify the manufacture of alcoholic beverages as distinct from other forms of manufacturing. That distinction will allow these businesses in areas where heavy industry might not be so welcome. 

Under the new rules, microbreweries will be allowed to sell their products at the brewery site include tasting rooms that can serve food. The brewery can also open a full-fledged pub on site where it's permitted. 

"The idea here is that we always allowed micro breweries that sold in their own restaurant, but larger breweries that wanted to sell retail had to only be in industrial areas," said Mayor Naheed Nenshi. 

"And the idea here is that a microbrewery can sell in its own restaurant and retail in a larger section of areas."

'It's great for tourism'

Cold Garden plans to have a tap room open in about a month with 12 beers available. 

"We specifically chose this location, because we're hoping to revive what was once the brewing district of Calgary," said Fiorentino.

Calgary is currently home to several micro-breweries, but lags far behind other centres in Canada and the U.S., including Vancouver with over 50 craft breweries.

Brett Hopper with the Campaign for Real Ales Alberta said this move is a big help to the local brewing industry. 

"It's great for tourism," he said. "We'll probably see more breweries opening up in the downtown core." 

With files from Allison Dempster

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