Microbrewery approved by MPC

It’s still months away from pouring its first pint, but a proposed Red Deer microbrewery is a step closer to satiating the thirst of local beer enthusiasts.

It’s still months away from pouring its first pint, but a proposed Red Deer microbrewery is a step closer to satiating the thirst of local beer enthusiasts.

Troubled Monk Brewery received development approval from the city’s municipal planning commission on Wednesday, setting the stage for the business to set up shop in Red Deer’s Riverlands district. It’s chosen a 5,100-square-foot bay at No. 1, 5511 45th St. for its production facilities and tasting room.

Red Deer resident Charlie Bredo, who is developing Troubled Monk Brewery with his brothers Kevin and Graeme, expects to install a 17-hectolitre (1,700-litre) brewhouse in early April and be selling by June or July.

“We want to come out with between two and four styles of beer to start,” said Bredo, who thinks the local market will embrace craft beer.

“I think the culture of craft beer is really cool and I think a lot of people in the area don’t realize that there’s so much to beer.”

Beer will be available on site, both for tasting there and to take home. Cans and kegs will also be sold to bars, restaurants and liquor stores, said Bredo.

“I think there’s a solid demand out there for local beer.”

The company has hired a student from Olds College’s brewmaster and brewery operations management program to serve as its brewmaster, and expects to source as many ingredients as it can from Central Alberta. It’s also hoping to choose beer names with historical or cultural connections to this region — such as Pesky Pig Pale Ale, in honour of Red Deer’s famed slaughterhouse escapee Francis the Pig.

“We’re going to sell our beer throughout Alberta but we’re proud to be from Red Deer and we want that to show,” said Bredo.

Red Deer city council opened the door for businesses like Troubled Monk Brewery three weeks ago when it amended the city’s land use bylaw to allow microbreweries as a discretionary use in the Riverlands and Railyards districts.

“I think this a wonderful step forward into the Riverlands neighbourhood and I look forward to similar ventures coming down the pipes,” said Coun. Ken Johnston during the municipal planning commission meeting.

The commission did have to grant a relaxation of the minimum number of parking stalls needed for the multi-tenant building where Troubled Monk Brewery will operate — to 38 from the required 42. But city staff pointed out that the microbrewery’s peak periods will differ from those of adjacent businesses, on-street parking is also available, and more public parking could be developed as Riverlands evolves into the mixed-use neighbourhood that the city contemplates. The commission’s approval is for a 15-year period. Drummond Brewing Company has been operating in Red Deer’s Edgar Industrial Park for almost seven years. It’s done so under a site-specific bylaw previously passed by council.

And Lacombe council has given first reading to a bylaw that would amend that city’s land use bylaw to allow microbreweries there, with a public hearing and subsequent readings scheduled for Feb. 9. The move was prompted by another proposed craft brewery, Blindman Brewing, which would also be locally owned and operated.

Bredo said more microbreweries would be positive for the industry, and this region, since they’d help raise public awareness about craft beer. But starting such a business is no small commitment, he pointed out, with the associated investment in the million-dollar range.

hrichards@bprda.wpengine.com

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