Are Craft Beer Lounges Coming to Vancouver?

Photo credit: John Biehler | Flickr

Photo credit: John Biehler | Flickr

Anyone who’s been to wine country knows the pleasure of visiting a winery, strolling the vineyards and then enjoying a glass or two in the winery restaurant.

Imagine if you could do the same thing with beer.

That dream may soon become a reality in Vancouver.  Nearly a dozen local craft breweries and distilleries have applied for licenses to open tasting lounges, according to the Vancouver Sun’s Randy Shore.  That means patrons may soon be able to sit down and savour a beer at the brewery, something nearly impossible to do now.

Current regulations limit microbreweries and distilleries to either giving away samples  or selling bottles to go.  Beer lovers who want to tour a facility then enjoy a pint or two on site are generally out of luck.  This is because most of Vancouver’s microbreweries are on industrial land, making it difficult to obtain a liquor license.

New rules being considered by city council would pave the way for actual drinking  lounges where brewers and distillers could sell their stuff on site.  Lounges would have to be smaller than 80 square metres and take up no more than one-third of the facility.

And while that might all sound like splitting hairs, it promises to transform bar and pub  culture in Vancouver.  Just like counterparts in real beer capitals like Portland, Vancouverites may soon be able to spend an afternoon tippling in their favourite local breweries.

Better yet, many of the breweries applying for lounge licenses are clustered close together, raising the prospect of some epic brewpub crawls.

R&B Brewing, Main Street Brewing and the soon-to-open Brassneck Brewery and 33 Acres Brewing Co. are all situated in Mt. Pleasant’s traditional Brewery Creek neighbourhood.

Meanwhile, Powell St. Craft Brewery, Coal Harbour Brewing, Storm Brewing and the soon-to-open Bomber Brewing and Odd Society Spirits are centred around Hastings and Commercial Avenues.

Here’s a list of breweries and distilleries seeking the new lounge licenses, from a great article by Randy Shore:

Mt. Pleasant
R&B Brewing, 54 E. 4th Ave.
- Main Street Brewing, 299 W. 7th Ave (opening soon)
- Brassneck Brewing, 2148 Main St. (opening soon)
- 33 Acres Brewing Co., 15 W. 8th Ave. (opening soon)

Hastings and Commercial Area
Powell St. Craft Brewery, 1830 Powell St.
- Coal Harbour Brewing, 1967 Triumph St.
- Storm Brewing, 310 Commercial Dr.
- Bomber Brewing, no address (opening soon)
- Odd Spirits Society, no address (opening soon)

Yaletown and Granville Island
- Yaletown Distilling Co., 1132 Hamilton St
- Long Table Distillery, 1451 Hornby St.
- The Liberty Distillery, 1494 Old Bridge Rd. on Granville Island

For more updates on craft beer, Vancouver and beyond, follow me on Twitter @RemyScalza.

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