Cheers to new brews

City has microbreweries in mind for potential new zoning laws

Winnipeg has recently opened its arms to new endeavours and is offering beer-lovers in the city more options on the brewpub front. The introduction of new brewpubs and microbreweries means people have more places and original microbrews to try, and the city is looking to eliminate barriers to where these places can be built.

“I love and believe in both craft beer and entrepreneurship,” Nicole Barry, founder and president of PEG Beer Co., says, “and I love Winnipeg and felt we deserved a brewpub.” 

The city conducted a review of the zoning bylaw that could change how land in commercial districts is used to accommodate wineries, microbreweries and body-modification parlours, bringing these businesses beyond their current perimeter of manufacturing zoning. The final public hearing and council approval will be held over the winter.

“We required a minor rezoning otherwise,” Barry says, addressing the potential zoning law shuffle. “But like any business, we completed due diligence to ensure we were opening within the city’s permit and zoning limits.”

PEG Beer Co. opened on 125 Pacific Ave. in April of this year and launched its first six in-house brews on Oct. 11. PEG Beer Co. is one of a small handful of new brewing companies in the city. Barry says there is a limit to how much she takes in from the macro-brewing world, emphasizing that craft breweries are where it’s at when it comes to new beer on the horizon. 

“Change is upon us, and it’s about time. Ten years has seen many changes and we will continue to catch up over the next few years,” she says.

Despite the current restrictions, Winnipeg has prevailed against all zoning odds and has begun offering unique in-house brews with the promise of more beer and brew spots to come. With this in mind, Jordan Janisse, hobbyist and home beer-brewer, says local brewing inspires him to concoct his own tasty batch. 

“I have been brewing for six years,” Janisse says. “When I was a little tyke, I used to hang out with my dad as he made wine in our basement, so having the equipment already and being a student, I decided to give it a go.”

Janisse says other than grain brewing, which is pricey to start, home brewing cuts costs and is exciting to experiment with. He says with time and practice, someone can make 20 litres of beer for $20.

“The benefits of brewing at home are many. It’s cheap, you can bottle in anything and flavour combinations are endless,” he says. “I made a honey habanero beer last fall, which was fun and tasty. Mead is a new passion of mine.”

New and coming-soon microbreweries you can check out also include Barn Hammer Brewing (595 Wall St.), Torque Brewing Co. (330-830 King Edward St.) and the soon-to-open One Great City Brewing Co. (1596 Ness Ave.).

For more details on the City of Winnipeg’s zoning by-laws review, check out their website winnipeg.ca/PPD/PublicEngagement/ZoningReview/default.stm.

Published in Volume 71, Number 9 of The Uniter (November 3, 2016)

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