A group of five investors, including three from Sooke, is having dreams of beer suds and hops as they work toward establishing a craft brewery in the town centre.
Business owner Carl Scott is leading the group that plans to build a 3,500-square-foot building at 2057 Otter Point Rd. A development permit was issued by district council last week for the $2-million project.
Scott, owner of Sooke Centre Auto, said the investors have a passion for the brewing business.
The dream of a craft beer business was born about five years ago when Scott and a friend, who is also part of the investment group, saw the success of the Tofino Brewing Company as it went from a fledgling startup to a “stellar business in the community.”
“It got to the point where we felt somebody had to do it [in Sooke], and we let it happen,” Scott said.
“The brewery idea appeals to me because it is something totally different. I’ll be able to learn something completely new.”
Each investor has a 20 per cent share in the business. The brewery will be built on two lots owned by Scott on land next to Sooke Centre Auto. It will include a brewery, tasting room and retail space.
The one-storey structure will have a West Coast design with the focal point being the entrance, which features a large fir tree trunk and fir trim. The building is covered with red and black corrugated steel and natural stone.
The site landscaping will include plants appropriate to the local climate, including rhododendron, barberry, mountain fire, blue fescue grasses and red maple trees.
The brewery will have a 15-hectolitre system, which will produce 1,500 litres per brew. The brew will flow into two 30-hectolitre tanks.
“Realistically, I’m hoping we can do two brews a day, three or four days a week,” said Scott.
Timing for the brewery could be perfect. Scott knows of at least two other groups looking at starting up breweries in the Sooke region.
“If we have a few breweries in town we could have tours. It would draw people out to Sooke.” Scott said.
“We don’t look at it as competition necessarily. It’s just expanding the craft beer world.”
Scott’s brewery will employ six people full time and include part-time staff.
Sooke council members, in approving the permit, were excited about the development – and offered advice.
“If this goes through it will be a historic achievement for Sooke,” said Coun. Ebony Logins.
Added Mayor Maja Tait: “This is really exciting for the town centre. It’s great to see something like this come forward.”
Councillors Bev Berger and Rick Kasper want Scott to take the idea further by introducing patio seating. City staff will work with Scott on the idea, but it might also need approval from the provincial liquor licensing branch.
“I would support anything [like a patio]. I think the more people who are on the streetscape as opposed to in a building … makes the area look a little more alive,” Kasper said.
Construction of the brewery is expected to start soon with a yearend opening planned.