Following a public hearing, the City of Victoria Thursday granted a rezoning application for Merridale Cidery and Distillery to move forward with plans for a new location at Dockside Green.
In August, the Cobble Hill-based craft cidery announced plans for a Victoria expansion with a brewhouse and distillery in the Vic West neighbourhood.
At the Sept. 20 council meeting, neighbouring residents expressed concern about noise mitigation given the cidery plans to offer service – including on a rooftop patio – until 11 p.m., drawing comparisons with Phillips Brewing on Government Street, known for their outdoor backyard concerts.
“Phillips has hundreds of people [in their] backyard bashes,” said Rick Pipes, co-owner of Merridale. “Our rooftop holds less than 40.”
Pipes explained live music isn’t currently part of the business model, but good stewardship of the neighbourhood is, adding the city’s sound bylaws “would govern everything we do.”
“We want to be sustainably a member of the community, a place that people are proud of in the community,” he told council.
The neighbourhood’s philosophy of sustainable planning is what drew Merridale to purposely choose Dockside Green, he explained, as opposed to opening in Rock Bay, a more affordable location in a neighbourhood with other craft breweries.
Plans for the new location at 356 Harbour Rd. include a four-storey brewhouse and distillery with a full-service kitchen, taproom and retail space. Visitors will be able to tour the facility via a catwalk to be built around the perimeter, overlooking temperature controlled rooms that will house barrels to be used in the aging process.
Coun. Chris Coleman said the cidery was foreseen back in the neighbourhood planning phase for Dockside Green, calling the project “imminently supportable.”
Council voted unanimously for the rezoning, granting the project a development permit.
Merridale president Janet Docherty said she expects to open the doors in fall 2019.
“We’re very excited,” she said. “This has been a number of years in the making.”