Toronto

Council adopts changes to make it easier for craft brewers to open in Toronto

Toronto city council has adopted a set of zoning changes that will allow brewers to operate a tap room in a restaurant, make a retail shop part of a brewery or operate a restaurant and brewery in a single space.

Councillors approved changes to zoning rules, inclusion of craft beer tourism in economic plan

Toronto city council has adopted a set of zoning changes that will allow brewers to operate a tap room in a restaurant, make a retail shop part of a brewery or operate a restaurant and brewery in a single space. (Chris Langenzarde/CBC)

It will now be easier for craft brewers across Toronto to manufacture and sell their products all in one shop.

Toronto city council has adopted a set of zoning changes that will allow brewers to operate a tap room in a restaurant, make a retail shop part of a brewery or operate a restaurant and brewery in a single space.

In a news release Thursday, the city said the changes "respond to the needs to today's brewing industry."

"Craft brewers operate differently and need more flexibility than the industrial-scale breweries that existed when the City's pre-amalgamation zoning bylaws were originally drafted," the release said. 

The changes come two weeks after a city hall committee approved recommendations making it easier for craft brewers to operate in Toronto. And they come four years after a request by city council for staff to work with owners and operators — in a group called "Caskforce" — to create a more supportive regulatory environment, the release says. 

The group had put forth a motion that addresses two issues.

One was the zoning barriers that craft breweries face when trying to open; the other was making sure beer events and beer tourism are part of Toronto's economic development plan.
Part of the problem came down to the definition of "brewery" as an industrial space in the zoning bylaw. According to Ward 11 Coun. Mike Layton, that meant small craft breweries couldn't open up in commercial areas. They had to operate in industrial areas, instead. 
Coun. Mike Layton proposed the motion back in 2017, along with a group of industry representatives. (CBC)

  
At the same time, industrial areas didn't permit retail, taprooms or patios — things that are critical to the operation and sale of beer from a craft brewery. 

"These new zoning permissions remove barriers and modernize our bylaws to make it much easier for brewers to be successful in Toronto," Layton said Thursday. 

"We're happy that we have been able to work with the industry to bring about these important changes that just make sense," Mayor John Tory said. 

With files from Huyana Cyprien

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