The Batch 44 Brewery and Kitchen on Wharf Avenue in Sechelt opened Feb. 8, becoming the first craft beverage maker to take advantage of the zoning changes allowing microbreweries, micro distilleries and tasting lounges in the downtown core that were adopted by Sechelt council in 2018.
At the time the zoning amendment was passed, district planning staff said in a report to council that opening up the area for the craft beverage sector would “provide business opportunities and may create opportunities to increase vibrancy in the downtown area attracting both visitors and local residents alike.”
The only other craft beverage maker in Sechelt, the Bricker Cider Company in West Sechelt, announced last week that is has now received a “lounge endorsement” from the province after a wait of nearly a year.
The change to its licence will allow Bricker, located at 6642 Norwest Bay Rd., to serve full glasses instead of the 5 oz. samples it was restricted to under its original licence.
Sechelt council endorsed the Bricker application last April, in the face of opposition from some in the community who raised concerns about an increase in traffic and the cidery becoming a de facto bar.
“Until now our rules have caused customers so much confusion; this simplifies things,” said Bricker general manager Nick Farrer, adding that the new endorsement will also allow the tasting room to serve other local products.
The changes to Sechelt’s craft beverage scene coincided with the sixth annual Sunshine Coast Craft Beer Festival at the Gibsons Public Market, a fundraiser for the Sunshine Coast Association for Community Living, and the declaration of Gibsons as the second best beer town in B.C. by The Growler, based on the number of breweries per resident. With three breweries and a population of 4,605, Gibsons has one brewery for every 1,535 people.