Golden is about to become part of a growing Canadian trend, as the first steps have been taken by local entrepreneur Kent Donaldson to open a craft brewery.
“I really want this to be something the people of Golden are proud of,” said Donaldson to Town Council during the March 4 meeting.
A zoning amendment bylaw was before council to allow for a craft brewery at 623 8th Avenue (located behind Mary’s Motel, beside Glacier Rafting), where Donaldson has purchased a lot.
Both Town staff and council were very supportive of the proposal, and passed first reading of the bylaw, therefore proceeding to the public hearing process (which is tentatively scheduled for April 1).
“A craft brewery has substantial potential benefits for the Town of Golden,” said Phil Armstrong, planning technician for the Town.
Although still in very early stages, Donaldson is planning to have brewery tours, as well as an indoor/outdoor lounge area, which has recently been permitted by the province. The lounge license allows the brewer to catch a bigger chunk of the market.
“In staff’s opinion, Mr. Donaldson has chosen the perfect location for this, near Mary’s Motel and just over the Pedestrian Bridge. It’s walking distance for locals, but also along one of the main routes up to Kicking Horse Mountain Resort,” added Armstrong.
“I think there’s a great opportunity here to mesh a production facility with a nice architectural storefront that would allow interaction with the public,” said Donaldson. “I think it will become a pretty good tourism draw.”
Craft beer sales now account for nearly 10 per cent of the Canadian beer industry revenues. In fact, in 2013 sales by smaller breweries increased by 38 per cent, while sales from larger breweries went down by four per cent.
Similar small breweries are operating in Invermere and Revelstoke (Arrowhead and Mt. Begbie), and are thriving.
“It’s an exciting time here in the craft brewery world…People are passionate about it and this is the perfect time for this to come to Golden,” said Armstrong.
“This is a fantastic addition to our downtown, I think we’re all excited about it,” said Mayor Christina Benty.